In this Expert Insight Interview, Shawna Schuh discusses how to become better at asking questions to boost your business opportunities. Shawna Schuh is a leadership coaching and speaking expert for organizations that are ready to evolve.
This Expert Insight Interview discusses:
- The difference between questioning vs. telling, selling, and allowing
- Why it’s essential to know the intent behind your questions
- How being more direct with your questions could help you make more sales
Telling, Selling, and Allowing
We all think we’re great at asking questions, but it often works out that people aren’t as good as they think. Most of us, whether we realize it or not, are telling rather than questioning. The other thing we tend to do without even realizing is selling. We’re selling our ideas, initiative, and the direction we want our conversation partner to head.
Finally, we are allowing people to do things we don’t enjoy. Whether it is showing up late or not finishing projects, we enable people in our lives to get away with things without even realizing it. The more we do that, the more other people look at us as examples of this behavior, which sends our entire social circle down a slippery slope.
Motivation and Intent
Asking yourself what you want from a conversation before it begins is crucial because if you know what you want, you’ll ask different questions. Think about whether you’re asking questions because you want to gain some insight or because you want to confirm or validate something you already consider to be true.
We often do the latter, not really asking questions but looking for cues that tell us that the other person agrees with our opinion.
Asking the Right Questions
People tend to come up with a lot of questions during a conversation, but not many seem to think through the intent of their questions. In sales, in particular, you’ll often hear people say they asked vague questions to learn more about the client and get the sale further down the line. However, that approach is pretty shortsighted.
If you want to make a sale, the first thing you should ask is whether the person you’re talking to would like to purchase the product you’re selling. Not only do people not ask this question at the beginning of the conversation, but they often fail to reach it at all because they’re frightened of finding out that their product might not be suitable for the client.
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.