Mo Bunnell reveals the number one skill for creating incredible growth in your career and for deepening relationships in general. Learn the frameworks for asking great questions and how they create a triple win for you and your prospect, the six types of questions you can ask to go deeper and build trust and rapport with anyone, and the biggest mistake you need to avoid for great questions to be effective.
Asking Great Questions that Work Hand in Hand with Your Business Growth Strategy
- Asking great questions gets you a triple win. The first being it creates an enjoyable experience for the other side. When people share information only they know (self-disclosing information), the pleasure center of their brain lights up.
- The second win is that you also become more likable. As people answer great questions, talking more while you talk less, the more they associate you with feeling great.
- The third win is that it allows you to become unique in the mind of the buyer. As they begin sharing, you are going to learn their priorities in their words. Being able to talk about what you do in the context of the other person’s goals and priorities is way more effective.
- When at all possible, avoid going first. If you have to, make your intro brief and shift quickly to asking the other person about their goals. People are dying to share their perspective, give that opportunity to them.
- You’re going to win the meeting if the other person talks more than you do.
- Avoid showing up with a big and clunky Powerpoint, focusing on you. Get to the other person as quickly as possible and offer ways to be helpful.
How Asking Past & Future Related Questions Affects the Success of Your Business Growth Strategy
- Make sure you’re getting the other side to share their personal perspective, something that only they know. Questions focused on the past and the future are great starting places for teasing out that information.
- Past questions include: “What historical data should we use to benchmark the future improvements we’re talking about?”, “What’s your #1 learning from leading teams on initiatives like this from the past?”, “What’s the most important experience you’ve had that's gotten you to this role?”, “What would you say has historically been the most important characteristics of an external partner like us?”
- Future questions get people thinking of ways they want to create value and advance things. Examples include: “What do you think this would look like if it was working well?”, “How much do you think we can improve that important metric you mentioned in three years?”, “How would people feel if we did it the way you would like?”, “What would your role look like if there were no restrictions on you?”, and “What’s the number one thing I can do to be helpful in following up?”
- Avoid asking stock questions, they just reveal that you haven’t done your homework.
- Customize the questions to show you are paying attention and care about the other person’s business.
Use This in Your Business Growth Strategy: Ask Elevating Questions During Sales Calls
- Future questions ask people to articulate what they think a future should look like. Elevating questions explore the present at a high level.
- Examples include: “How do you think your CEO sees this fitting in with your overall strategy?”, “What are the most important personal metrics for you this year, and how does this issue impact them?”, “What’s your favorite thing about your job right now?”, “If you had to choose some personal metrics right now that would elevate your profile and get you a big bonus, what would they be?”
- For questions around a specific issue, you’re focusing on the opposite of elevate and paying more attention to today at a detailed level.
- Examples include: “If you had to pick one process or step that was the most important to get right, what would it be?”, “If you could choose one quick win we could focus on and accomplish, what would it be?”, “What one person should we give some extra attention to in the meeting next week?”, and “What’s the number one thing we can improve in regards to our teams working together?”
- These style of questions require you to do your homework, but if you can design a great question you will get the other person thinking deeply and helping them understand themselves even better.
- You will probably only have the opportunity to ask four or five great questions over the course of an hour. Think deeply about the questions you want to ask.
How Connection Questions are Key to any Business Growth Strategy
- Connection questions are all about lateral thinking and how things fit together. The goal is to use them to get hired, develop trust, and be helpful in general.
- Examples include: “What other projects or teams might benefit from knowing what we’re considering?”, “What other external partners should we connect with to make things easier?”, “What connections can I make for you inside the company?”, “What kinds of updates would be most helpful for me to give you around the topic?”
- The next category is more focused on what’s missing. Ironically, these kinds of questions are the most interesting and most commonly skipped.
- Examples include: “What should we have discussed about this potential project but didn’t?”, “What other data should we begin to collect now so that we have a benchmark to prove success?”, “What kinds of people are you looking to meet?”, “What can I do to be helpful that we haven’t discussed yet?”
- These sorts of questions are very thought provoking and great to drop into the middle of a meeting or near the end.
- The trap to avoid is over indexing on your initial questions and not focusing on the questions you will use to wrap up the conversation.
Crush Your Business Growth Strategy by Avoiding Asking Prospects These Questions
- Research has shown that for commonly used skills, we drastically overestimate our abilities. In one particular study, people’s average percentile ability in the test skill was 12%, but they rated themselves on average at 62%.
- Asking great questions is the lynchpin.
- Earned dogmatism is a mental heuristic that says that the more we view ourselves as an expert in an area, the more close minded we become.
- The skills of curiosity and learning that got us our expertise wane over time unless we fight against the tendency. If you want to continue deepening relationships, you need to fight earned dogmatism by asking more questions instead of always talking about answers all the time.
- Wake up every morning and try to think you don’t know everything about your craft so you’re open to continuing to learn. If you can walk into every conversation with the beginner’s mind, you have a chance to grow your skills and keep getting better.
Mentioned in this Episode:
“Disclosing information about the self is intrinsically rewarding” - research article by Diana I. Tamir - pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1202129109
“It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: Question-Asking Increases Liking.” Huang, Karen, et al. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 113, no. 3, 2017, pp. 430–452. - doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000097
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