Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Marketing Tip: Don't be a Know-It-All - Ask Your Client Questions

I read some things to remind me of a simple but often overlooked point.

Seth Godin, the author of The Purple Cow and seeming 1000 other books, wrote a simple blog post: Q&A.  Within it, he mentions that people tend to be good about answering questions, but many of us really are not good at asking questions.

The Question
I asked myself, "Why is that?  Why are many people more excited to answer questions than they are to ask them?"

Quickly, I realized something.

Knowing the Right Answer
In school, we were rewarded for having the right answers.  People looked at us as though we were more intelligent, even though we just happened to know that specific answer.

These people got rewarded with higher grades and more respect from their teachers.

Giving the Wrong Answer
When we did not know the answer, we usually suffered some form of penalty.  Either we got a lower grade, or we felt humiliated.  School was not the place for wrong answers.

Asking Questions
When we ask questions, we are admitting to the world that we do not have the right answer for something.  We did not give a wrong answer, but we showed the world that we were not intelligent enough to know that answer.

Asking Questions-Another View
The schools give us one message during our early years, the years where we form many of our lifelong habits, attitudes, and self-image.

Here is another view that many people never are able to realize.

Asking questions is the quickest way to transfer yourself from someone who does not know the right answer into someone who does.

You have to intelligent to know what you do not know.  You have to be smart enough to know how to word your question so that the other person can provide you with an answer that fills you with the knowledge you are trying to get.

Quite honestly, it takes a pretty intelligent person to ask questions.  Dumb people simply are not capable of this.

Ask Your Clients Questions
I have seen people with a lot of intelligence go into places and already know what needs to be done.  They start giving direction immediately.

They could be right.  They might be giving all of the right direction.

However, most of these people forget one thing.

They are experts with marketing, business operations, or whatever else they were hired to consult.

The client is the expert with his or her own problem.  The client has all of the answers.

As marketing consultants, we need to ask the client the questions.  The client can give us the answers so that we can act intelligently.

How can we act intelligently if we do not have all of the information?

Don't be a know-it-all.  Ask your clients questions.  Show them how smart you really are!

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