In a world centered on communication devices and connectivity, one thing is missing. The question. Too often we get wrapped up in telling people what we want them to hear, rather than asking them a question. Blaine Rodgers, Show Livestock Business Development & Field Support, shared with the store dealers at the recent Dealer Retreat that the average 4-year-old asks 390 questions a day! That’s a question every 2.5 minutes that toddler is awake, but the youngster is curious, constantly learning new things and has no fear.
“How amazing would it be to have the courage to ask questions of your customers and potential end-users without being limited by fear?” Rodgers asked. “As adults we are afraid of asking stupid questions or questions that make us vulnerable.”
Rodgers offered six tips to effective interrogation that will help build relationships and grow your business.
Questions create connections. When you ask a question, it shows genuine concern or interest in the customer, it’s animal or other interests creating a connection.
Questions drive solutions. Asking a question of your customer helps them connect to real solutions. Asking questions won’t necessarily provide a ready answer but will help get them headed toward a solution.
Questions open doors of possibility. If we ask a question, it allows us to not make assumptions. And, asking questions opens doors of opportunity that we might not even knew existed. Perhaps you have a customer who picks up Sure Champ® for his or her kids’ 4-H projects. Have you ever asked if they own other livestock? You might be missing an opportunity to sell another great product because you have never asked.
Questions lead to asking other questions. Often when we give a statement, that is final. There is no more conversation; however, asking a question could lead to another, which could lead to even more product sales or solutions for your customer.
Questions build bridges. Typically, in tough times, questions are needed more than statements. Although a statement like, “I’m thinking of you” or “Things will work out,” might be easier to say, questions will mean more in the long-term. “How can I help you over come your challenges?” “Is there something specific I can do for you?” Anytime a person is going through rough time – think the spring we’ve had – asking questions is going to help you appear more genuine, shows you care and helps build a stronger bond.
Questions inspire action. Action is after all, the desired end-result, and questions put us in a proactive state. The brain does not like to leave any question unanswered. Think about a question that will close the conversation you’ve had, such as, “Which product would you like to leave here with today?” “How do you feel about putting extra calves on the ground next spring with increased conception rates?” These are questions that inspire action and will help your sales grow.
Effective interrogation – or question asking – can be an powerful tool for growing your business and building relationships. Take time to ask your customers the right questions that show genuine concern and can offer a solution. Questions will inspire action, and action is the tool we need to grow.