If someone you liked asked for help, what do you think are the constructive questions you could ask? I’d suggest you’d have to ask:
These are more productive lines of inquiry than: “What’s wrong?” And “What you want to do is this…”
A therapist friend of mine says this is the usual dumb line of questioning that often gets men in trouble with their female partners!
Sure, you should start with the empathy question first: How can I help? (My friend taught me that too!) And you should show an inclination to listen and ask a lot of well-meaning questions but eventually it’s crucial to get into the goal stuff.
I have a colleague called Andre who has been a powerful force for driving our big innovation — Switzer TV. I want to reward him by helping him achieve his goal and that’s why I’m appealing to you to help me help Andre!
Yep, I’m asking for what is really a new age sale. When free websites like Switzer Daily give you information, the implied price is your eyes and your time, which then can be seen as valuable by advertisers, sponsors and so on.
I’d love our website to be ad-free but we do employ a lot of people and we’re not a taxpayer-funded like the ABC. And anyway, even Aunty runs ads for all of their stuff, including the magazine Gardening Australia.
Andre has a goal to get 15,000 subscribers to our Switzer TV show by the end of 2020. Right now, he’s trending higher each week and is now at nearly 13,000. I’d love him get to 15,000 by Christmas — it would be a nice gift.
Oh, by the way, it’s a win-win gift, as our Switzer TV Investing programme has thrown out some great stock market tips as we have some of the smartest share assessors in the country on our Monday night show.
OK, I know I’m selling but it’s for good causes — Andre’s goal, your potential to get wealthier and the success of my site! That’s win-win-win and you have to love that.
One thing I learnt when I started teaching at the age of 21 was that I was in the sales game. If I didn’t come to class with something that would grab those potential teacher-killers’ attention, it was going to be a damn hard 40 minutes in that classroom, that was going to be a great excuse for getting sloshed after I escaped the school grounds at 4pm!
Fortunately I learnt this lesson quickly being the competitive so and so that I am. And as a consequence, I avoided a drinking problem, unlike a lot of other teachers.
The marketing guru, Seth Godin, author of that must read book Purple Cow (and many other must reads) often when interviewed would tell us that “everyone is in sales”. When you think about it, business leaders are obviously in sales but they don’t only sell to customers. They sell messages to stakeholders as well and they sell systems, ethos and inspiration to their staff. Politicians, radio hosts, sporting coaches and even a priest or vicar are selling when they try keep you awake during their sermon on Sunday mornings!
And when what you’re selling helps others achieve their goals, you potentially create a win-win scenario.
When we started our financial planning business, our goal was to be the most honest and helpful assistant to our future clients in achieving their money goals. The whole advice business is goal-dependent and the first important question we ask our possible client is: “What are your goals?” Next comes this question: are you on track to achieve these goals? And if they’re not, that’s where we come in with a plan to do exactly that.
Positivepsychology.com explains that “…setting goals helps trigger new behaviours, helps guides your focus and helps you sustain that momentum in life. Goals also help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. In the end, you can't manage what you don’t measure and you can’t improve upon something that you don't properly manage.”
But having goals is a great start. An even more important step is to actually execute the plan. You have to take actions or the goals and the related plan are just nice ideas.
In his book Life in Half a Second, Matthew Michalewicz, has five doors we have to go through for success and they are:
Matthew puts it simply by saying, “Only action can turn goals into reality.”
So this is my action to make my goal of helping Andre reach his goal actually happen. I’m going to do something that a lot of people in sales have trouble doing and that’s asking for the business.
Joe Brocato writing in forbes.com advises that you never ask for the business at the first meeting, instead make sure you deliver value to a prospective customer first.
“In your first meeting with a prospect, you can break his or her pattern. Most prospects are likely expecting you to be overt about asking for their business (i.e. that’s their pattern) and by focusing on how you can add value to them or help them out, you can make a special impression,” he advises.
Thankfully, most of the people reading this have read my stuff before and you know I’m in the information/advice giving business and I’ve been a big giver for decades. So I have no problem asking you for the business. And if you don’t want to do it for me, at least do it for Andre and yourself!
Switzer TV (both the investing and property show) will give you insights that will help you get richer, which is a pretty useful gift!
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