Communication Is Not Just Presentation

Good questions are more powerful than great statements.

One of my favorite Stephen Covey quotes is: “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.” But still, many consultants do the exact opposite in their sales-oriented conversations.

You can have the most well-crafted pitch in the world - if it's not relevant to me, I'll simply nod my head and ignore it. I might ask one or two follow-up questions out of courtesy, but there's no reason for me to further engage. I don't need it, and I'm not curious about it.

That's why the best way to convey information is to actually listen to everything the other person has to say, and then respond appropriately.

Listen to the words your clients use to describe their current situation, challenges, and opportunities. Most importantly, listen to what is not being said.

Of course, a conversation is a two-way street. You can't just listen. But you can ask questions that invite the other person to share more and direct the conversation to places or topics you can help them with.

Asking powerful questions demonstrates your business acumen and situational knowledge. It's how you challenge current beliefs and question the status quo. Great questions set you apart from other consultants and establish you as a subject expert and consultative advisor.

Here’s a rule of thumb: in the first couple of meetings with a prospect, any statements that you make about yourself, your firm, or your services should be responses to the client’s questions only.

By doing the opposite you’re signaling that you are more interested in selling than in helping the client achieve his desired outcomes. That you value more their money than the relationship. And therefore, you won't put their best interests first.

Listen, and ask questions. The best way to sell is to create a buy.

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