Asking the RIGHT Questions

Which questions do you need to ask to even get a hint if you really want to know something about another person's business pain?

We define business pain as a problem that a business needs to have a solution for. The pain may be that they do not have enough sales, or they do not have an appropriate process in order to track their forecasting. The pain could even be that they cannot hire the appropriate staff in order the handle daily requirements. Most often when you are at an event, the business person will talk about what is bothering them at work. They do not talk about their successes (especially if they are being heard) and they do not talk about other wins. They will talk about their pain. It is through asking questions that you will find out what that pain is.

One good question would be to ask: "How are your sales doing this quarter?", or this year. You may also ask them what they are currently working on in order to improve their business processes. There are a host of other questions you can ask in order to get the answers you are looking for. When asking questions, you do not need to get into specifics; you need to generalize as you want to make the appointment to go deeper into what their company does. The goal of diving into the business pain is not to find out what the pain is per se, it is to find out that there is pain and in what areas. If you are specifically interested in sales, then the questions should generally be directed around sales and not the HR questions. You must be specific about what you want to know and not what the person is leading you towards. There is often pain in more than one area of a business.

Now that you have asked all the important questions, you will receive the answers. These may not always be the ones you are looking for; it may be that you have no chance at doing business with this person. The important thing is to make sure that you listen carefully to what they have to say. You should not take notes as it is distracting to the speaker; you should spend your time practicing your listening skills.

Bette Daoust, Ph.D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people's attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the "Networking Queen". Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit http://BlueprintBooks.com.

In The News:

84 Food Business Ideas  Small Business Trends
Why Your Small Business Needs a SWOT  The Good Men Project
MSU students turn fundraiser into small business  Springfield Business Journal
Small Business Awards Dinner  New York Business Journal

Top 7 Small Business Tax Tips

Here are seven ways for owners of small businesses to... Read More

Doing Business With Friends: Five Tips for Preserving the Friendship... and Your Sanity!

My colleague, Jane, recently lamented to me an all too... Read More

Marketing Your Small Business - The Top 10 Brilliant Ideas

A Brilliant Marketing Idea... sounds great but what is it?... Read More

Top 10 Rules for Small Business Success

1. TargetYou are not all things to all people. Decide... Read More

We Know Who THEY Are

Am I the only one that does not have an... Read More

Multiple Clients Create Your Independent Business

Would you rather have one good client paying you five... Read More

Boat Cleaning Business Case Study: Entrepreneurship 101

How do marine type businesses start? Have you ever thought... Read More

Lack of Vigilance Can Harm the Bottom Line

The easiest way to lift profits is to cut the... Read More

Chamber Membership will BOOST your Business

When is the Chamber ideal for your business?Joining a Chamber... Read More

Financial Fundamentals - What Every Small Business Owner Should Know!

Business owners rarely go into business to deal with the... Read More

Top 10 Lessons for Small Business Success - As learned From My Twin 3 Year Olds

Small business success is very similar to learning to walk,... Read More

How to Profile a Client

At first glance, this topic may seem a little repetitive,... Read More

Look Out for that Great Accountant

There are many factors to be considered when you are... Read More

Pressure Washing Heavy Equipment

One of the best ways to make money in the... Read More

The ABCs of Fundraising

There are many little details that go into making sure... Read More

Is Brick and Mortar A Passing Fad?

Q: Is the online world the best place to sell... Read More

Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned From My Nametag

So there I was ? sitting in the audience of... Read More

Using Technology to Manage Customer Loyalty

Don't let your customer satisfaction research initiative collect dust on... Read More

Pressure Washing Aircraft Hangers at the Airport

If you are looking for a way to own your... Read More

Tips and Tricks for Legal Debt Collections

If a customer owes your local business money, it's hard... Read More

Boat Detailers; Add-on Products and Services

As a Boat Detailing Specialist, you may want to offer... Read More

Book Yourself Solid Key #5: Go Forward With Gusto & Articulate What You Do

Want your small business to flip instead of flop?! Statistically... Read More

10 Cardinal Rules for Business Growth

After over 30 years of participating in hundreds of businesses,... Read More

Change May Be Your Ace in the Hole

Whether it has been thrust upon you by external market... Read More

Finance Your Small Business: So Much Money, So Little Time

$37.4 million funded from venture capital today. $86.4 million funded... Read More