I work hard to come up with the right answer to questions that are put in front of me. However, if the wrong question is being asked, the answer to it is worthless regardless of accuracy.
John Tukey put it this way:
“It is better to have an approximate answer to the right question than an exact answer to the wrong question.”
This also extends to sales. Giving the right answers to your prospects is very important, but asking the right questions will go even further. In his book “To Sell Is Human“, author Daniel Pink simply says:
“In the new world of sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers. Unfortunately, our schools often have the opposite emphasis. They teach us how to answer, but not how to ask.”
You’ve likely noticed this in many conversations over the years, whether they were casual or business — the people that asked you the best questions came across as being the most interesting. Asking the right question requires a degree of empathy, so that you’re able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see where your gaps about them might be. When you see the world from their perspective, but you don’t understand a particular aspect of their view, that becomes a fantastic question to ask.
If you can find the right question, the answer is usually easier to find as well.