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ART OF SALES 2, 2.03 (V) Impact Questions

The critical skill of running high impact sales meetings is the ability to ask impact questions. These are the things that give impact to your sales meetings. In order to understand what an impact question is, let's look at the other types of questions we ask. We ask closed-ended questions like, does that make sense or is your day going well? Closed-ended questions can be answered with a yes or no. We ask open-ended questions like, how is your day going or what have you been working on? Open-ended questions cause your prospect to give a little bit more thought in order to provide an answer. Impact questions are even more powerful. They go deeper and broader than these other forms of questions. High performing salespeople get better more actionable information from their customers. Why? Because they ask better questions and this is what I want you to do. I will offer you two different definitions of impact questions. Here's one from a great book by Warren Burger called A More Beautiful Question. He says, "A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change." An ambitious yet actionable question that serves as a catalyst. I love that. These are the types of questions we should strive to ask. My definition is even more simple. I simply think of questions on a spectrum from left to right. On the left side, you have closed-ended questions and as you move to the right, you move through open-ended questions to true impact questions. What's happening as you move to the right is that you're requiring your prospect to think more and more deeply about the subject. One of my favorite impact questions is what is the smallest action you can take today that would have the biggest impact? See how that one makes you think and reflect? Here's another. The Harvard professor, Clayton Christensen, once helped a fast food restaurant chain sell more milkshakes. He asked customers who bought a milkshake this impact question, " What job are you hiring this milkshake to do?" And he also asked its twin, "And last time you hired something other than a milkshake to do that job, what did you hire?" These are very powerful questions as they reframe a normal open-ended question, why did you buy that milkshake? And make the customer think much more deeply about the reasons for their purchase. With these two questions, Christensen was able to unlock the secrets of how to sell more milkshakes. Think about that. If we equip ourselves with this powerful sales tool that is a list of Impact questions, we can open up more insights from our prospects, be more interesting people and even move our sales process faster. Like many of the sales tools we are building together, impact questions also apply to your life not just to sales. Here's another of my favorite examples of an impact question to use with kids. If you're having trouble with a kid who doesn't say much or a teenager who just doesn't want to talk, try this question, "Which of your teachers would survive the zombie apocalypse?" I love that question. That impact question is almost sure to get them talking. This is what impact questions do, they allow us to have richer, better conversations, no matter the situation in which we find ourselves. Back in the early 20th century, a psychologist named John Piaget got famous on the strength of a very simple experiment. He took a cube and he colored half the cube red and half the cube green and he held the cube red side out to a bunch of 3 year old kids. He said, "What color do you see?" And they said, "Red." He said, "Very good that's exactly right." And then he turned the cube around then he said, "Now what color do you see?" And of course they said, "Green." He said, "Very good. What color do I see?" And they said, "Green", but you know he's seeing red. What John Piaget taught us is that we have no consciousness other than ourselves when we're three years old. We develop the ability to see through others eyes, only when we are about four years old. Just like Clayton Christensen's breakthrough on milkshakes, this experiment caused a breakthrough on how we think about early childhood education around the world. I share this with you because it's simply a metaphor. Impact questions take you behind someone's eyes, so you can see what they're seeing and often feel what they're feeling and that's super powerful. So get your impact questions ready and go there.



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The critical skill of running high impact sales meetings is the ability to ask impact questions. These are the things that give impact to your sales meetings. In order to understand what an impact question is, let's look at the other types of questions we ask. We ask closed-ended questions like, does that make sense or is your day going well? Closed-ended questions can be answered with a yes or no. We ask open-ended questions like, how is your day going or what have you been working on? Open-ended questions cause your prospect to give a little bit more thought in order to provide an answer. Impact questions are even more powerful. They go deeper and broader than these other forms of questions. High performing salespeople get better more actionable information from their customers. Why? Because they ask better questions and this is what I want you to do. I will offer you two different definitions of impact questions. Here's one from a great book by Warren Burger called A More Beautiful Question. He says, "A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change." An ambitious yet actionable question that serves as a catalyst. I love that. These are the types of questions we should strive to ask. My definition is even more simple. I simply think of questions on a spectrum from left to right. On the left side, you have closed-ended questions and as you move to the right, you move through open-ended questions to true impact questions. What's happening as you move to the right is that you're requiring your prospect to think more and more deeply about the subject. One of my favorite impact questions is what is the smallest action you can take today that would have the biggest impact? See how that one makes you think and reflect? Here's another. The Harvard professor, Clayton Christensen, once helped a fast food restaurant chain sell more milkshakes. He asked customers who bought a milkshake this impact question, " What job are you hiring this milkshake to do?" And he also asked its twin, "And last time you hired something other than a milkshake to do that job, what did you hire?" These are very powerful questions as they reframe a normal open-ended question, why did you buy that milkshake? And make the customer think much more deeply about the reasons for their purchase. With these two questions, Christensen was able to unlock the secrets of how to sell more milkshakes. Think about that. If we equip ourselves with this powerful sales tool that is a list of Impact questions, we can open up more insights from our prospects, be more interesting people and even move our sales process faster. Like many of the sales tools we are building together, impact questions also apply to your life not just to sales. Here's another of my favorite examples of an impact question to use with kids. If you're having trouble with a kid who doesn't say much or a teenager who just doesn't want to talk, try this question, "Which of your teachers would survive the zombie apocalypse?" I love that question. That impact question is almost sure to get them talking. This is what impact questions do, they allow us to have richer, better conversations, no matter the situation in which we find ourselves. Back in the early 20th century, a psychologist named John Piaget got famous on the strength of a very simple experiment. He took a cube and he colored half the cube red and half the cube green and he held the cube red side out to a bunch of 3 year old kids. He said, "What color do you see?" And they said, "Red." He said, "Very good that's exactly right." And then he turned the cube around then he said, "Now what color do you see?" And of course they said, "Green." He said, "Very good. What color do I see?" And they said, "Green", but you know he's seeing red. What John Piaget taught us is that we have no consciousness other than ourselves when we're three years old. We develop the ability to see through others eyes, only when we are about four years old. Just like Clayton Christensen's breakthrough on milkshakes, this experiment caused a breakthrough on how we think about early childhood education around the world. I share this with you because it's simply a metaphor. Impact questions take you behind someone's eyes, so you can see what they're seeing and often feel what they're feeling and that's super powerful. So get your impact questions ready and go there.


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