Early ‘tough’ questions, to deliver value early in 1-1 meetings

 In Message creation

Consider this – in a one on one meeting with a new prospective client, how long should it take to develop rapport? My view is that the quicker, the better. Bill Bacharach, of Bacharach and Associates advises that the quickest way to develop rapport is to ask the prospect a tough, thought-provoking question.

Bacharach helps financial advisers be more successful. He’s written a great article, ‘Eleven principles of developing trust’. You can access the article from the following link http://www.baivbfp.com/news_articles.html. (on the page scroll down to the article and click on the title).

In the article Bacharach shares an example of establishing quick rapport. Picture the scene. It’s the first meeting between the financial adviser and his prospective client. The first question the adviser asks is this one: ‘How’s your marriage?’ In the article there’s an explanation of why that question develops quick rapport and the rationale for asking it.

In following posts I’ll share examples of questions that you use in your one on one meetings. One question comes from Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach. Here it is: “What has to happen over the next three years, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy about your progress?”

I’ll often set up that question by saying something like, “Let me start with perhaps a bold question”.  Sullivan maintains that your future, is all tied up with other people’s future. That is, your future is tied up with what they want to achieve in their lives (in the future) that you can help them with.

By listening to the person’s answer to the above question, you learn what the person wants to achieve and where you can help them – either through what you know (through your knowledge, expertise etc.) or through referral to someone else or other resources.

After I ask the question, if the person is hesitant to answer I’ll share the above comment about the value of me knowing about his/her future. Sullivan believes that if the person does answer the question, he trusts you. If he doesn’t answer the question or fudges the answer he doesn’t trust you.

The ‘how to apply’ for this post: Over the next seven days, in a ‘safe’ relationship, open a one on one meeting with the above “What has to happen . . .” question. Reflect on the response/reaction. If the question develops rapport for you, add it to your list of options for opening meetings.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Subscribe to Behind the Voice

Regular insights, guidance and commentary on how communication influences business and the world around us

Thank you for subscribing