Every marketer certainly should strive to develop a strong relationship with their prospects, clients, and customers. There are very few ‘natural’ marketers (very few) that just know how to properly engage the client. The good news is that almost everyone can learn the best ways to create that ‘go-to” and trusted advisor relationship.
Even the challenge of trying to get past the gatekeeper and get in front of the all-important decision-maker is a specialty all its own! When you show credibility, you’re removing a big reason why the client may not want to do business with you.
One of the easiest ways to create a strong Maven (trusted advisor) relationship is to constantly ask all-important power questions. Asking powerful questions – questions that make your prospect think and think and think before answering, makes prospects believe you are brilliant. They feel you are in tune with their business, and in turn come to rely on you and trust you more. Power questions prove to your clients that you know their business and you actually care about their business.
Even more so, by asking powerful questions, you stay in full control of the conversation and interaction without the client feeling intimidated or threatened. Plus, people like to talk about themselves, so when questions are asked, it gives them the opportunity to feel like they are important. If they feel they are important to you, they will like you more and want to do business with you.
The simplest way to know what questions you should ask come to you from doing your research on that client and their industry. You can’t really ask intelligent questions unless you actually know something about them and their business! Even as you ask a very good question – ask even more follow-up questions.
Your power questions can demonstrate to the prospect or client that:
- You are paying attention
- They know you “feel their pain”
- You can be taken seriously
- You have credibility and knowledge
- You ask really good questions
- You ask follow-up questions to the good questions
- You are in tune to their world–business – issues
- You are a great “conversationalist” (making you likable)
- Tell them something about their industry they may not know
Open-ended questions enable the prospect to respond with a much more elaborate answer, and that engages them even more. A closed-ended question simply allows them to say yes or no, thereby awkwardly ending the dialogue. An added benefit to asking open-ended questions is that you remain in control of the conversation so you can continue to demonstrate your expertise and value!
Too many marketers go about their day dropping off candy or donuts and never get to the true business at hand. Their bosses think the marketer is productive because she called on 15 clients and prospects that day!
It’s also a failure if marketers work on the premise that “if they are friendly and likable,” that’s good enough. It takes so much more that just talking about cookie recipes. The fact is – marketers won’t succeed well unless they do their ‘homework’ and know details about the prospect or client. Be a Maven by interacting with them in a credible manner – asking power questions.
Author: Dick Wagner, Co-founder of the CREST Network
Dick Wagner is a Nationally recognized marketing coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker
Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program
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