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Asking the right questions in the right way and at the right time is a powerful combination. Do you know why? Questions transform your relationships and allow you to uncover customers’ deep, often hidden emotional needs. This idea of questions, first proposed by Socrates some 2,400 years ago, has helped people and organizations clarify intentions, expand thinking, and help opposing parties reach agreement ever since.

The 7 Benefits of Asking More Questions

Number 1: Challenge our thinking and give birth to new ideas.

In life, we have many possibilities that lead us to new relationships, business opportunities, and novel ways of doing things. Polaroid was founded on a single question from a three-year-old: “Daddy, why do we have to wait to see our pictures?”

Number 2: Create connection.

The word communication comes from the Latin word “communis,” meaning “common.” Questions help us connect through commonality of values and ideas. As John Maxwell says, “Good questions prompt your customers to say ‘Me too,’ as opposed to ‘So what?’”

Number 3: Foster engagement.

When you’re talking with a customer, you have no idea what that person is thinking. For all you know, he or she is wondering, “When is she going to be quiet?” or “I already knew that.” Questions keep customers engaged.

Number 4: Move a customer or coworker through resistance.

The typical default response for salespeople when somebody keeps saying “no” is to keep selling the idea: provide additional proof to support the idea and describe the payoffs for the other person. Instead, ask a question like “Why do you say that?” or “Why do you feel it’s too expensive?”

Number 5: Create good feeling.

Similar to experiencing things like sex, good food, or even cocaine, when people talk about themselves, it releases dopamine from their brain’s reward and recognition center.

Number 6: Move us to action.

Typically, statements trigger our brains’ logical and analytical skills. Questions, on the other hand, trigger creative and emotional skills. Statements cause our prospects to think, while questions cause them to act.

Number 7: Expand our thinking.

Many customers don’t know they have a reason to buy. Questions help customers realize that they need what you’re offering so they can sell themselves. People don’t believe it when we say it; they believe it when they say it.

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