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I wrapped up a meeting by saying, “Is there anything you’d like to know about Kingsford?” And the CEO across the table said,” No, I don’t think so". You have asked such good questions you are clearly an expert in this area and can most certainly help us”. We went on to enjoy a great business relationship with that client.
I think about that response quite often and try, as much as possible, to focus on asking good questions. When selling, asking questions is obviously the best way to find out about a client’s situation but what we often forget is that the nature of our questions demonstrates so much about who we are, what we know, how we operate and how we might help. And, as an added bonus, by asking questions we are letting the other person be heard – so rare in today’s manic environment.
When you meet with your salespeople – have them role play their questions for a change (not their sales pitches).
Some generic questions that fit just about everywhere:
You can also add some very focussed questions based on research you have done on the company. (A great place for insights is the Chair and CEO sections of the company’s annual report.)
Asking questions rather than telling people things is powerful in almost every human interaction of course– not just sales. As a CEO you are obviously involved in sales – but also in every other aspect of the business. In your next conversations try leading with questions and refrain from telling as long as possible. And as with most things you haven’t tried before it will feel uncomfortable - but uncomfortable is where you need to spend more time because that is how we know we are learning something new.