Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Leading Surveys and the Power of Asking the Right Questions

When we ask questions - we get answers.

This is why I like the How question.  Often when you ask why - you come up with reasons and excuses for why something happens or is not happening.  Why are sales down this year?  Competition is higher and we lost XYZ account.  And of course the exchange rate.

I think of things we cannot change as "conditions".  My exCOO used that all the time.  Conditions are simply things which are.  And anything that needs to be done needs doing "in spite of the condition".

But ask the How question.  How can we increase sales.  We can market more, we can sell other products, we can approach ABC customer etc.  How questions inspire action.

Good leading questions get even better answers - eg being highly specific.  How can we increase sales by 12% by December?

This is why my modification of the 5 Why's is to add the How.

So how can this be used in surveys?

Ask - what are the 3 things you like about us?  Do you buy from us because our prices are competitive or because our service is great?  Do you mostly buy from us because we sell ABC product or XYZ product?  (so the customer says "I did not know you sold XYZ).  As a customer, what is most important to you about us - that we sell more ABC than all other companies combined or because we ship faster than other companies?

The more customers say good things about you - even in a survey, the better they think of you.

Don't ask what is wrong with us?  (that will always come out - especially if you have a section for "any other comments")

Surveys can be a great marketing tool and can help reinforce things in your customers' or prospects' mind.  They can also educate your customer.


Texting and driving.  Good video to share with all.  Watch it through to the point where they show how long 5 seconds is.


And Victoria taking me for a walk.


At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think How is the best question to ask especially when planning. Sometimes when strategy diverges the execution team has to dismantle the How question to get on track again. Reverse engineering the vision to bring out the details of the execution is where the How question really shines. Great post!

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Nick Klassen said...

Jim, I really like this post about the power of questions. Love the survey idea for marketing - subtle, and very powerful.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Anne Gielczyk said...

“Why?” is certainly the most important question a boss/manager can ask because it enables the most positive changes. But it cannot stop there, implementation is just as necessary once you receive the appropriate answers to those “why” questions.


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