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.

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