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Conversational Engineering part 2 of 3 – create better questions

The most important way to have better conversations is to LISTEN & ask BETTER QUESTIONS.

I talk with salespeople about the idea of Conversational Engineering all of the time. My definition for sales is taking the time to create space – moments – an environment that encourages prospects and customers to want to talk with you.

When I’m working with salespeople on having better conversations – creating questions is a big part of that work!

Of course there is typically push back:

  • how can I create questions when I don’t know how the conversation will go
  • I prefer to just wing it
  • I already have questions to ask

QUESTION STRINGS: the tip I have for people who think you can’t have questions preplanned is to create open ended questions that have ________ space to insert the other persons words or … at the end for a place to tie the question into the conversation they are having.

example = When would ___________ become intolerable?

PLAN: I can’t hold back my eye rolling when salespeople tell me they’re better when they wing it.

Conversations certainly never follow a flow chart! It’s the activity of putting questions together that allows listen fully when someone is speaking vs. missing things while you’re thinking about what you want to ask next.

OPEN IT UP: When I have people roleplay to see how a conversation might go. The majority of the questions that are asked tend to allow short one word answers. Yes… No… Blue… Cisco… Instead of a question that gets the other person to expand – explain – tell their story.

It is especially important when something feels off, to create an open ended question that will make it easier for them to tell you their truth.

That will also include writing out a softening statement to preface your question with.

FRAME IT: The other part of question creation is to make sure you begin with why someone will want to tell you the answer! answering their unspoken question “What is in it for me to answer this question?”

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