You don’t always have to know the answers – just ask much, much better questions…

A few weeks ago I was hired to do some sales coaching for a company operating in a sector that I had no experience of whatsoever. I made sure the client was aware of this fact but they hired me in spite of that lack of experience.

The day’s coaching went extremely well, and mainly due to the fact that whilst I was preparing for it, I was reminded of something a very wealthy smart business person had said to me some years ago when I was interviewing him for an article I was writing. What he said was – “Bruce, I don’t need to know the answers. I just need to ask much, much better questions.”

Based on that statement, I spent much of the day asking questions rather than coaching. You might like to take a close look at some of the questions I asked (below). You could ask these of yourself, your sales team and your customers. When you do, you may also realise why ‘you don’t have to know the answers – just ask much, much better questions’.

– What would be the perfect result for you from our meeting today?
– If we had the time, money and resources – what would you really want from us?
– If YOU had the time, money and resources – what could YOU do to increase sales?
– What other ways are there of achieving an increase in sales?
– What has really worked well in the past?
– How could we find out?
– Specifically – why can’t you / they do that?
– Who else could do this?
– What are YOU going to do it?
– But if you could – what would that be like?
– On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate….?
– Who are your role models – most effective competitors? Why?
– How do they deal with it?
– What sectors are still busy in this economic climate?
– Do you have a list of companies in that sector?
– How could you best approach them?

You may also have to ask some of these questions several times and eventually you will almost certainly get some great answers!


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