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Question Framing

Jun 10, 2008
Try this: I'm sure you'll get it real quick but because you're all such good folks out there, I want you to spell the word 'folk' three times. Do it right now in your mind. Spell the word 'folk' three times as fast as you can.

Now what do you call the white part of an egg?

Did you say yolk? Really?

This is an example of how the question leads the answer. Are you asking the right questions to get to your prospect's core values and deep criteria? If we are eliciting criteria right, our prospects have absolutely no idea how much information they're really giving us.

So how do we make the most of our questions? What needs to be remembered is that the questions we ask cause the answer. As we learn persuasion, we learn how to better ask questions.

If I were to look at you as a brand new client, and you've never bought anything from me before and let's say I'm an advisor and I'm there to help you with wealth planning throughout your generations and I say, "Would you just tell me the two or three things that you need to hear me say today to make you buy? Just tell me so that we can get this part out of the way. Go ahead. I'm listening."

What would happen? That's right. Nothing. They'd probably either tell you to leave or they'd get up and walk out. Yet magically, when we elicit their criteria, they gladly give that very same information to us. Why? Well, to an extent, it's disguised.

Your prospects don't understand what they're giving you when you ask the 'what's important about. . .' way of criteria elicitation. It's very rare that you find someone who gives you resistance to this. Even if they did understand what they were giving you, it is socially correct to find out what they need prior to recommending a product or service. Doctors don't prescribe medicine prior to finding out about your medical history, finding out if you have allergies or without finding out why you're there to see them. Neither do consultants, lawyers, or sales people. We can't give people recommendations if we don't know what they want or need.

The point is that we are setting people's minds up to enter them and get them to do what we want them to do. We set them going in a direction which we can then interrupt and cause them to immediately, as if it was always so, go along with what we're saying. (What's the white part of an egg called?)

When I ask, 'what's important about X?' or 'if I were a magician and I had a magic wand and I could wave it and get you anything in business you want, what would it be?' I am listening very intently for where you have the strongest emotional reaction to one of the words that you're saying.

We're opening the people's minds. We're opening them to their own desires, to their own things.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches strategies to earn the business of wealthy clients using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion strategies.
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