Question: So, what’s the one element that people in business strive for?
Question: How do you build trust?
Answer: You get to know your customer. Really know them. And here’s the nub of the problem. Traditional questioning techniques don’t go far enough. So, what you need is a next level of questioning. I call it Deep Questioning.
In an article by Jim Stone Ph.D , titled, “5 Communication Skills that Open People’s Minds, Stop debating and start dialoguing”, there are glimpses from the world of psychology that can help us ask deeper questions.
The next time you’re in a discussion with someone about a controversial issue such as moving from a supplier who over years has earned their loyalty. Or, they have had a bad experience with a similar purchase. Or, a previous representative from your business gave them grief, or there was an unexpected price rise from your company. Or they don’t have time to meet with you or hear you out – even when you do have a superior solution.
Then use this process:
- Establish common ground. You want to move from ‘debate mode’ to ‘discussion mode’.
- Learn their story. Don’t rationalise the argument. Listen to their story. Have you noticed how hard it is to interrupt someone who’s telling you their story?
- Make it safe for them to change their mind. You could have made the same decision they did, given the history. So, you too have a story to tell.
- Validate their experience and challenge their interpretations by offering alternative possibilities.
- Keep your outcome in mind.