Saturday, January 26, 2008

Power of Asking Questions

AC - Speeches by Management (Project III)
Manage & Motivate
January 25, 2008
Kids ask smarter and tougher questions. How many of you agree with that?
We were also kids at some point in time. We asked all those smart and tough questions. What happened to us, now? Why are we not asking such smart and tough questions, now? Well, our society trained us nicely to accept things, the way they are.
When we were kids, we had lots of interest to know... lots of curiosity to learn. We asked way too many questions to understand the things around us. However, when we grew up, we STOPPED asking questions and STARTED to make assumptions.
Now... How many of you like to go back to your child hood days? Well, I cannot take you to your child hood days. But I can help you to revive the most important and powerful skill that you had in your child hood - YOUR QUESTIONING SKILL.
In the next 8 minutes, you are going to learn the unlimited potential and power of asking questions.
Questions are attention getters
Have you ever listened to radio? If you carefully observe, many advertisers start with a question. Questions like "Do you want to buy a new home? Are you suffering from bad credit? Do you want to re-finance?" All such questions do a good job in captivating the attention of listeners.
You can use this technique in your speeches too. You can start your speech by asking thoughtful, controversial or challenging questions. By asking a question, you'll get the audience to move to the edge of their seats. They'll eagerly look forward to what you have to say.
Learn from the sales experts
Novice sales people tell you "I've got the best product that would solve all your problems. You are going to be the most happiest person in this world after you buy this product". They make these promises, without fully understanding your needs and problems. Expert sales people would first try to understand the customer's needs by asking questions.
Have you ever been to the jewelers shop to buy a diamond ring? An ordinary sales person would force you to "Buy this or Buy that!" without fully understanding your needs. An expert sales person would ask questions like
- Whom are you buying this ring for?
- What is the price range you are looking at?
- Do you have preference for any color?
He would then show you the collections that will interest you. Having understood your needs, he will be in a better position to make a sale.
Ask Questions & Close Deals
Questioning skills can help in negotiations too. Skillful questioning is the easiest and quickest way to uncover valuable information during negotiations. With practice, you will find yourself asking better questions and gaining increasingly valuable information.
Let me a share a personal experience with you. Few months back, I got a 100$ rebate card from ATT for my new phone purchase. I had used 7$ from it and there was a 93$ balance in the card. I didn't use the card for quite sometime and the card expired. I called the customer support and told them "You should either send me a rebate card with new expiry date or send me a check for the balance". There was a lady on the other side and she said, "Sir! Your card is expired and there is not much that we can do about it. You should've used it before the expiry date".
I, then changed my approach. Instead of commanding her or giving her directions, I asked her "Is there a way by which I can get my money back?" She said, "Can you please hold on for a minute!" and she put me on hold. She came back after a few seconds and told "Sir! I can give you a credit for the balance to your phone account". If I hadn't asked that one question, I would have lost 93 bucks.
Try it out yourself
If you still don't believe the power of asking questions, you can try it out yourself. Imagine it is a Friday evening. You return back from work and you want to go out for dinner. You are so obsessed about going to a Chinese restaurant. You tell your spouse, "I want to go out for dinner today. Let us go to a Chinese restaurant". Note that - you are making the decision, here. There is a high probability that your spouse might ask "Why Chinese? Why not Mexican?"
Instead, you can ask - "Honey! I love to go to out for dinner with you today. Would you be interested in going to a Chinese Restaurant?" By asking a question, you are letting your spouse to make the decision. There is a great chance that your spouse will tell YES.
The world responds to those who ask. Bible says, “Ask and you shall receive".
A simple "Will you forgive me?" question has saved several relationships. Ask that question to your loved one, the next time you break a promise.
A simple "How can I help you?" question can result in million dollar business deals!! Ask that question, the next time you talk to your potential customer.
A simple "How can I improve?" question can lead you to a world of opportunities. The next time you meet your friend, ask that question.
Ladies & gentlemen, ask questions ... ask zillions of them ...