I'm working with a company right now to expand their sales team. It's been a lot of hands on work. I've interviewed hundreds of salespeople on the phone and in person. I'm enjoying the process of rolling around in the mud and coming out very dirty.
The job interview process is filled with questions and answers. I ask some. The potential hire asks some. We both give our answers. Some satisfy the curiosity of the questioner, some don't. One thing I've noticed about people who achieved success is their ability to ask one important question.
Answer The Question
How often do you ask a question and get an answer that skirts the issue? If you’re searching for work and ask a question like, "How much does the average person make in commissions?" you expect an answer. It could be more or less than what you want to earn, but you want the answer.
When I get questions like that, I won’t give a direct answer. I do a verbal dance around the question. I’d say, “that’s a tough question to answer since salespeople have various abilities. Some work harder than others, blah, blah, blah.” The answer is true. But it doesn't answer the question the salesperson asked. For me, it's a sales aptitude test.
A good salesperson will realize he didn’t get what he wanted. He, or she, won't let that slide. They sit quietly. They listen. They smile. And they ask, "So, based on that information, how much does the average person make in commissions?" He basically repeats the same question.
That makes me happy.
The Most Important Question You Can Ask
Throughout your day you'll ask people many questions. You ask customers about their wants and needs. You'll ask coworkers about projects. You'll ask your kids about their day. You'll ask your spouse about money and other important life details. But are you getting the answers you want, and need?
Your customers, family, friends, and coworkers aren't out to fool you. I'm interviewing people and intentionally doing things. I enjoy mentally testing people like this. I want to know who they are.
Your customers, family, friends, and coworkers will accidentally fool you. They may not consciously know the answer to your question. They may not want to spill out the full truth. They may feel a bit uncomfortable, or unable, to fully answer your question. Whatever it is, you have to ask the question again.
This is the most important question.
Ask your question again.
When you ask a question, expect an answer. Before you move on, take a second and evaluate the answer you received. Did it answer what you just asked? Did it give you all the specifics you want and need to know?
If not, don’t give up. Stand firm and ask again.
I guarantee this will make your life better.
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