Asking Effective Questions
Are you good at asking questions? This seems like a ridiculous thing to ask yourself, but the answer is very important. Your ability to ask not only good questions, but the right questions can have a significant impact on your client relationships.
Why Does It Matter?
All questions are not created equal. Aside from the basic purpose of gathering information, questions can play a vital role in establishing trust and fostering a powerful working relationship. Asking thoughtful, well-developed questions not only shows that you are deeply interested in your client’s work and business, it can help make the services you provide more focused and effective.
Insightful Questions Are Key
Asking the right questions starts with doing your homework. Before you can begin to understand your client’s business, do the leg work to eliminate insignificant asks. Once you get the basics down, you have the understanding to ask more broad questions about how the business functions in the marketplace and in comparison to competitors. Ask open-ended questions about goals, public perception of the company, target demographics, and specifics about products. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification when necessary or for more information.
It’s Not Always Easy
Asking the right questions isn’t always the most comfortable thing to do. If a client is struggling, you may have to ask seemingly pointed questions to understand their circumstances and turn things around. Although you don’t want to start a conversation with difficult questions, these can often lead to the most meaningful answers. The better you can understand what makes your client tick or gets them flustered, the better you can work to avoid those situations. Difficult questions also help perform the tricky task of building trust. If a client gives you valuable information in confidence and you use it effectively, they are likely to be less apprehensive doing so in the future.
The Power of Listening
The information your client gives you is only valuable if you use it effectively. To fully understand the circumstances surrounding a situation or the motivation behind taking a specific action, listen carefully. Give your clients plenty of time and ask follow-up questions as needed. The more attention you pay to the information your client gives you, the more insightful and well-informed your strategy will be.
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