“Intent counts more than technique” – Ian Brodie
Intent counts more than technique:
While you work on your questioning techniques, know that your intent is most important. Greeting your client(s) with honesty, sincerity and empathy prompts your clients to share their concerns and fears. Consequently, your ability to find the right solution and their trust in adapting it, go up as well. Ironically, it is in our own most selfish interest to focus on the interest of our guest first.
Be a good listener:
When you ask a question, how well do you listen to the answer? Studies have shown that the best sales people listen 70% of the time and leave 30% of the time to talk. Service writing is largely a “receptive and observant mode” activity. Unfortunately, most of us do the opposite and spend 70% of the time advocating (pitching) and only 30% listening for understanding (inquiry).
Listening is a matter of choice and concentration. You must choose to listen actively and focus your complete attention on the other person. To become a better listener, do the following:
- Focus on the person’s answer – not on your next question
- Listen with your ears for auditory communication: watch with your eyes for visual communication.
- Sense with your intuition the real meaning of a guest’s concern. Can you see the difference between what someone says and what they mean?
- Expand the communication when appropriate. Don’t cut it short of understanding or prolong it past interest
Avoid leading questions:
Leading questions can be manipulative, and frequently come over as sleazy. From the words our clients use to describe their desired success to the criteria they use to evaluate the proposed solution, we need to be very careful not to lead or assume the answer. Asking questions gives our client a chance to explain themselves and think about what they’re trying to achieve, and in turn gives us the opportunity to learn more. Non-leading questions allow for open, mutual exploration.
Gain permission to ask questions:
Sometimes advisers feel they’re entitled to ask clients all sorts of questions. In fact, we need to earn the right to ask questions first.
We agreed on some key concerns that we need to touch on. Just to make sure we fully understand your perspective; would it be okay to ask you a few key questions first?