Tag Archive for: consistently

Now Here’s a Great Question

I learned a long time ago the value of asking great questions. Asking great questions isn’t only about getting answers. Sometimes you ask questions just to get people to think for themselves. When you ask great questions they stimulate thinking because most people feel compelled to answer questions.

A Powerful Example

I’ll never forget what took place when a sales trainer came into a room with about 40 attendees right after lunch. Before he got started with his afternoon presentation he asked, “Does anyone know a good place to go for dinner in Columbus?”

Suddenly people were shouting out restaurant names and many others raised their hands. After a few moments he said, “Stop. I know exactly where I’m going for dinner. I asked a question to prove a point. People feel compelled to answer questions. Look at how many of you were shouting out answers or raising your hands. And for those who didn’t say something or raise your hand, were you thinking of a place?”

Suddenly the more reserved people were smiling because they too were thinking of restaurants. Point made. Almost everyone feels compelled to answer questions, either out loud or in their head.

Doubt Versus Belief

Author and sales trainer Tom Hopkins tells readers and audiences, “When you say it, they doubt it. When they say it, they believe it!”

There’s something about verbally stating an answer that makes people believe it even more. It’s the power of the principle of consistency. That’s where you feel internal psychological pressure and external social pressure to be consistent in what you say and do. I boil it down to “word and deed.” We feel better about ourselves and look better to others when our words and deeds match.

The Great Question

During my corporate life one of my big responsibilities was managing a bonus plan for my prior company. I did lots of training on the plan for our field salespeople but it was complicated so I still got lots of questions.

I usually spent a good bit of time researching to gather information before answering their questions. At the very end of my email response, on a line all by itself, I would ask one of the following questions:

  • Does that answer your question?
  • Was that what you were looking for?
  • Does that give you everything you need?

The responses I received were usually along these lines:

  • That’s above and beyond. Thank you!
  • Thank you so much! That’s more than I expected.
  • Wow, I appreciate that. Yes, it answers all my questions.

The Result

Whichever variation of the question I used, asking was primarily for confirmation. I wanted to avoid miscommunication and make sure the person got everything they needed. It worked!

Another benefit I quickly realized was the question was also building my personal brand. When people came back with enthusiastic responses that indicated I went above and beyond what they’d expected they thought more highly of me. The more highly they thought, the more they relied on me.

This taps into the principle of authority. This principle of influence says we listen to people more when they believe they are an expert. Asking for the confirmation can be a reminder of your expertise when you do your job well.

To Do This Week

When you’re asked for help and you’ve done your job, take a moment to ask a question that confirms you’ve met or exceeded expectations. Doing so will avoid miscommunication AND build your personal brand at the same time. Both will make you a more influential person.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach, consultant, and author, he’s one of only 20 people in the worldpersonally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet when it comes to the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – went live this summer. It’s been one of the top 10 selling Amazon books in several insurance categories and cracked the top 50 in sales & selling since launching.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courseshave been viewed by more than 75,000 people! His latest course – Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities – is now available through LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com.

Persuasive Coaching: Conclusion

This is the final installment of the persuasive coaching series. After an introduction we looked at the need for the right relationship with the right coach, building rapport, gaining trust, good questioning, and how to be a listening STAR.

Coaching can be an incredibly effective way for people to grow professionally and personally. Do people need a coach? Most don’t think they do. It reminds me of people who go to the gym but never work with a personal trainer. Too many have just enough knowledge and self-confidence to think they don’t need a fitness trainer. However, those who hire a trainer usually make more progress and do so much faster because they get expert advice, increase their motivation, and establish an accountability relationship. Why do you think the greatest athletes in the world continue to work with coaches? Because no matter how great they are a good coach can help them get even better.

As a coach, you need to help those you coach by giving them expertise they might not have access to otherwise. With trained eyes and ears you may notice things the coachee is blind to. Your expert advice might be what’s needed to break a bad pattern or limiting belief. After all, if someone keeps doing what they’ve always done they can’t expect to change for the better.

Motivation is also key because we can all get stuck in a rut every now and then. It’s easy to lose the passion we had when we first met our spouse, started a new career, or embarked on a new hobby. Having someone to help us rekindle that spark and maintain it is huge because it can become an important source of energy that’s used to reach your goals. It’s also especially important to help coachees persevere through tough times.

Accountability is the kick in the ass many of us need to follow through. Knowing someone will ask us if we did what we said taps into the principle of consistency. As I noted in previous posts, most people want to feel good and look good so they work hard to keep their word. When a coach asks, “So by next week you’ll do X?” and we answer, “Yes,” most of us will go out of our way to do X. If the coaching has been good and is moving us towards our goals then we’ll be thankful for the accountability.

I’ll close with this in regards to coaching and accountability; the late Tom Landry, Hall of Fame football coach for the Dallas Cowboys, put it this way, “My job is to get men to do the things they don’t want to do so they can accomplish what they’ve always wanted to accomplish.” If you can motivate people to do what they need to so they can reach their dreams then the sky is the limit for you as coach.