The problem with most people is they don’t realise why we were all given one mouth and two ears. All they want to do is tell you about themselves. Don’t they realise we aren’t interested in them, only ourselves!!

BUT turn this on its head and you have a brilliant technique to instantly make new friends and really impress people. It’s called ‘Ask open probing questions’ and it’s really simple to learn. The more you practice it the better you get too.

Next time you meet someone new just ask them a question that starts with one of the following words:
What…..?
Where....?
When….?
Why…...?
How…...?

Starting with one of these words will force the person in front of you to tell you something about themselves.

Now carefully listen to what they have just told you. Respond by showing genuine interest in what they said and use their phrases in what you say to them building on their initial comments. You use their words and phrases to get on their wavelength. Their brain is more receptive to the words they have just used.

Then keep asking open probing questions until you know a lot about them. They will love to tell you all about themselves. Do NOT be tempted to tell them all about yourself. NO-ONE wants to hear about you! All they want to do is talk about their world. So listen to them, show interest, sympathy, friendship and BINGO – you have made a new friend. It’s simple - just try it tonight on your relatives at home. You will be amazed at what you learn and how you create a really friendly atmosphere.

Then try it with people at work and see how quickly you start to progress in your job.

Now we are really getting somewhere because this technique is used by all world class management people. Their skill is to get the best out of the people who work for them. They do it by asking questions all the time, listening to the responses and then making considered decisions on real knowledge gained from those they work with.

This ‘open probing questioning’ technique has been refined even more by world class sales personnel. When they meet a new potential customer, they ask open probing questions starting with Why, When, What, Where, How to try to find a few serious problems and issues that the customer has.

They then repeat back the issue to the customer to really understand each problem.

Then they ask more open probing questions to establish what value the customer attaches to solving each problem. When they have identified a serious issue that really worries their potential client then then ask “What are the consequences to you personally of not solving this problem?”
Now the customer is beginning to sell their product to themselves, doing the sales person’s job and relieving them of all the psychological pressure of ‘making the sale’.

Finally all the sales person has to do is ‘close the sale’ by asking for an order, or using more subtle approaches offering a sample to try.

If you are interested in developing your business skills go to http://www.profitplanner.co.uk where you will find lots of one minute fun videos that give you great free business advice that could transform your life.

So stop talking at people and ask them questions, listen carefully to what they tell you and show them you understood what they said to you. Then ask more questions. You will be amazed at how much more successful in relationships you become.

Author's Bio: 

Mike Ellacott worked in ICI for 32 years initially creating new products in R&D. As a senior commercial manager responsible for the "Perspex" European sales and marketing team, he maintained brand leadership for many years. He has advised many companies on how to sell effectively.More recently he has worked as an Enterprise Advisor and is also a Director of E4A a company specialising in supply resources and systems to help Schools and Businesses become more enterprising.