Questions to ask in meetings

How to Shape a Great Sales Conversation

What is the main skill that helps people build great rapport within minutes in any given situation, and particularly in a new business meeting? What is it that the best business leaders, salespeople or even rainmakers do that enables them to get what seems like instant engagement? It goes beyond their mere physical appearance or a sharp dress sense. While clothes may give you confidence they do not “maketh the man or woman”. What they all do is have a natural curiosity, and an ability with their questions so they don’t just learn and understand more about the other person, they actually start to develop and build trust.

Think about an occasion when you have first met someone and it’s gone really well, and you’ve genuinely wanted to see them again. In short you have clicked. The chances are they asked you questions which showed they were interested in you, your thoughts, and what you do. So are these people blessed with an intrinsic magic gift of great questioning sk [...]

Why you should never ask a CEO what their challenges are

By Keith Dugdale

People love asking about challenges in sales meetings.

In my many years of observing sales people, ‘What are your biggest challenges?’ would only be surpassed in popularity by an equally doomsday style question ‘What keeps you up at night?’.

Don’t get me wrong – asking about their challenges can be a very good question, and is certainly a better question than ‘what keeps you up at night?’ which has become as frequently used in sales meetings as Big Macs are seen in McDonalds. If you’ve built a level of trust with the other person before you ask it, it can definitely unearth a whole host of interesting information, and hopefully gives you an opportunity to give the other person lots of ideas about how they can tackle these challenges (and not just with your own product or service, of course).

But this doesn’t mean it’s a good question to ask everyone….and particularly to ask CEO’s.

If it can be suc [...]

5 great questions to ask to really understand your client’s business

I love the start of a new year. Not just because it always means I will be skiing in knee deep powder in Whistler, the best place in the world (which I am, hence the photo above just to rub it in), but because the beginning of a new year is the best time EVER to shift your client relationships.

Why? Because the new year gives you the perfect excuse to ask them all sorts of longer-term, big picture questions about what the year ahead holds – for them personally, for their team, their company, even their industry. And it’s these kinds of conversations that are going to show you’re interested in them and their world, not just what money they’re going to give you, which will potentially shift your relationships from technical, social or ad-hoc, to a true trusted relationship.

To really get to know and understand my client’s businesses, here are five questions that I will often ask:

  1. “In an ideal world, what will your business look like in 3 [...]

5 great things to say at the start of meetings with prospective clients

You’ve only ever got one chance to make a first impression (weird, huh). It doesn’t matter whether you’re going on a date, meeting the future in-laws, going for a job interview or meeting with a potential client for the first time – what you do and say in those first couple of minutes is absolutely critical.

Science tells us that it’s the non-verbals that have the most impact on first impressions (so smile, stand up straight and lean in when you talk), but what comes out of your mouth is next in the first impressions firing line so you’d better make it good. When meeting with a potential client, it’s the first fork in the road where your options are to either become a trusted advisor or a commoditised salesperson.

This is not to say you can’t recover from a bad beginning – you can, but you’ll have to work even harder as you’ve already undermined some trust. When I first met Kathryn (my Marketing Director, but she used to be my client) I was inadve [...]