What Are They Really Asking?

Client Questions, Confusing Customer Questions, Responding to questions

Have you ever had a client ask you a question and you thought, “Why in the world are they asking me this?”

Or maybe you felt pressured to answer a question when you didn’t want to in order to maintain the relationship.

Maybe you were raised in an environment where if someone asks you a question, your manners dictate you answer it.

It wasn’t until my early thirties before I learned not only am I not obligated to answer every question asked, I can respond in a way that keeps the relationship in tact without actually answering the question.

Sometimes clients ask questions that come across as inappropriate, unrelated to the discussion or even downright rude.

When this happens, here’s the 3 step approach I use to handle these situations:

Step 1: Before entering into a discussion with a client, ensure you’ve set yourself up by managing your internal state (read more about internal state management).

Step 2 (And your Savvy Sales Tip this week): In order to understand the client's motivation in asking the question, respond with, “What makes you ask?” It’s important before jumping to a conclusion to show respect for the relationship by understanding the catalyst for the question.

Client Questions, Client Relations, Rapport

This particular tip comes from lesson 86 in my book: Six Word Lessons On Influencing With Grace.

Step 3: Based on the client’s response to step 2, I decide to either answer the question or continue on in the discussion as if the question was never asked.

I’ve found many times when an inappropriate question is asked and by responding with “What makes you ask” the client usually withdrawals the question or moves on without expecting an answer.

A couple things to remember, what you do with your voice and body language will play a big role in how the response, “What makes you ask?” is received. Keep your voice tone pleasant and your body language depicting curiosity. You may find how easy it is to keep the discussion focused on business and moving the relationship towards closing the sale by using this simple response.

Wishing you an amazing start to your month!

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