Just how vital is having the know-how to ask the right questions in making better decisions for your business or even personal life?
Today on Freedom In Five Minutes, I share with you a recent experience. This served as a powerful reminder about the importance of taking a quick pause and asking the right questions when faced with a crisis.
Overview & Episode Content
- You Cannot Know the Truth with Nothing But Assumptions
- Know When and How to Listen
- Ask The Right Questions
You Cannot Know the Truth with Nothing But Assumptions
In this episode, I will talk about a recent experience with a client and one of our VSAs without disclosing too many details to preserve customer confidentiality.
I have one very good client who is absolutely amazing and even has a couple of VSAs as part of their business. And both of these VSAs are very good as well. However, they had an issue recently involving one of the VSAs in their team.
Based on the initial correspondence, they were causing a lot of problems. And I was under the impression that they had broken one of our policies. I immediately assumed this.
Now, anyone who has been following me for a while knows that I’m pretty strict when it comes to our policies. And the reason is simple. Once a policy has been broken, and nothing is done about it, then it is going to happen again and again.
So in this particular situation, I thought one of our policies was broken. In fact, I was mentally prepared to fire the person who broke our policies. And there was some really crazy stuff that was going on as I was going back and forth with the customer.
Finally, I asked the customer to hop on a call and chat with me so we could thoroughly discuss all the stuff that was happening. But I went to that meeting ready to say, “Look, I think we’re done. If things are going to be this way — the way that I thought they were — then we’ll just call it done for now.”
Now here’s the thing. Had I done that, then it would have been a huge mistake!
Know When and How to Listen
Without getting into details, I can tell you that the matter was serious.
Issues such as time-card fraud are huge! And I really do end relationships with the VSA or the client depending on what the situation is.
So, I was getting on this call and I was ready to say, “We’re done.”
But instead, I took a quick pause and asked some questions first. I opened my mouth and asked some key questions to my staff and the client’s staff as well to see if policies really were violated.
I asked pointed questions and to my surprise, both the client and my account manager said, “Oh no. These policies were not violated.”
That stopped me dead in my tracks because, the entire time, I was assuming the wrong thing! We went on with the meeting and tried to get to the bottom of the real issue which was about the confusion as to what the VSA really wanted. And that confusion caused all these other issues.
The client even said, “I do not want to go behind your back and circumvent your system because you source high quality people. I just know I’d be shooting myself on the foot in the future.”
And that completely changed everything that I initially thought I knew! So, I shut my mouth and I made the effort to see what exactly happened and planned for the future.
Ask the Right Questions
We went on with the meeting and discussed the entire situation and we came to a really good place. In fact, it was so good that the customer expressed how happy he was with the service and that it transformed the way he does business.
When I got off the call I thought that was a very close one. I know that I almost lost a really good customer if I didn’t open my mouth and ask the right questions.
A lot of the time, we get into trouble because we are not asking good questions and we are not listening. The fact is, it is much harder to become a good listener. We tend to forget to pause, listen to the situation, and really take in what other people are saying. It can be so easy to miss what their concerns are.
We immediately assume one thing when actually, the issue could be something completely different. So, it is extremely important that we learn to ask the right questions and listen prior to making judgements and cutting off relationships or making decisions that could potentially sever a really good client or business partner.
Had I not asked the right question, I just know it would have been a really horrible mistake.
So, what can you do this week that will help you to listen to your clients, friends, business partner, or spouse? Will you ask them questions rather than dictating and assuming what you think?
Maybe you are struggling because of a disconnect with a client right now. You can change that situation for the better by asking the right questions.
Ask questions that give you, not only the answer, but the rapport. People will see that you really are listening and you are willing to get to the heart of the matter.