Boaz Rauchwerger, an award winning Vistage speaker, recently spoke to one of my Peer Advisory Groups. He reminded members that regardless of how you generate revenue, “You are in the people business, and to be successful, you need the cooperation of others.” To create cooperation, you must show a genuine interest in other people. “Being happier, making more money, being more relaxed, having better relationships all begin by being interested in other people. Everyone has got a story. “
People are as interested in you, as you are interested in them. If you do not show much interest in other people, they will not show much interest in you. Conversely, the more you pay attention to people and their concerns, the more that they will pay attention to you.
These five questions are an easy and non-threatening way to learn more about others and to make them feel important. Asking these cultivates a connection and help you form a bond with them. Preface the first question with, “I’m just curious…….”
1. “Where are you from originally?”
2. “What brought you here?” or “Have you lived here all your life?
3. “Do you have a family?”
4. “What do you do?”
5. “What did you want to be when you were growing up?”
By asking easy questions at the beginning of your conversation, you make it easy for the other person to get started. Once they do start, they will usually continue to share more about themselves. While listening to their story, honor and encourage them to share more with “Tell me more”.
If you ask enough questions, you will inevitably find bridges; commonalities between you and the other person. Once found, these bridges become a path to connection and cooperation. Try it with your employees and customers. You may be amazed by how little you knew about them.
Boaz recommends that you create a laminated credit card-size copy of these 5 questions and carry them with you. Make copies for your employees, and train them to use the 5 questions with customers. Boaz shared stories about how these questions created bonds with customers leading to increased sales for Vistage members.
Boaz also recommends that you keep a notebook where you record the answers to your questions. This serves as a valuable reference for future conversations with that person.
Start by experimenting with the five easy questions, and then move on to tougher ones. You will be pleasantly surprised how quickly and easily the other person will open up. Is this difficult or does it take much time and effort? No! Is it valuable to you and your success? Boaz says, “Yes!”