The Art of Asking: What, When, Why and How

by Todd Falcone

When prospecting for new business, people often get confused about what to ask during the probing process. What are the best questions to ask your prospect? How do you ask them? When do you ask? Why do you ask certain questions? Are there rules?

What Questions to Ask

If you speak with someone about your business, there are a number of appropriate questions to ask to help determine whether or not they are a good match for the business, capable of doing the business, and ready to do the business.

When I begin my interview process with someone, here are the basic questions I ask. Please note: I don't always ask all of them. One of the important skills to acquire in this business is judgment. Learning when to segue from asking questions to presenting information is critical.

  • Are you currently self-employed or have you been in the past?
  • What do you do for a living currently?
  • What do you like most about what you do?
  • Is there anything you don't like?
  • Are you primarily looking to supplement your income or are you looking for something more substantial?
  • How much time do you have to devote to a business of your own on a weekly basis?
  • What type of income are you looking to generate?
  • What type of income are you accustomed to earning?
  • How soon do you see yourself getting started?
  • Are you in the position to invest (fill in the blanks) to get started in a business?
  • What kind of value do you feel you could bring to this team?
  • Are you teachable?
  • Other than money, what are you looking for?
  • Why are you looking to get involved in a home-based business?

I tend to shy away from questions that get into information that is irrelevant to the initial interview. Some of them may be appropriate, others may not. Use your better judgment. For example:

  • Are you married?
  • Do you have kids?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?

When to Ask Certain Questions

While you first are in the process of establishing rapport with your prospect, it's important to ask the easy questions first. Asking them how much they make in the first few seconds is a no-no. Just think of it like dating: If you were on a first date with someone you might want to see again, you'd never ask the hard questions up front!

Pace yourself. Ease into the process. It becomes much easier to get answers from people once you have established a bit of rapport in the conversation.

Why Do We Ask Certain Questions?

We ask questions that are appropriate to the subject at hand. I never ask people questions that are irrelevant. Stay on target.

You are introducing a financial opportunity to them, so you ask questions about job and career, free time, likes and dislikes, etc. The reason is simple: to find out more about who this person is, what they may be dissatisfied with and how your opportunity may fill a need in their life.

How Do We Ask?

Try to stay away from asking questions that can be answered with a "no." This isn't always possible, but the more questions you ask that elicit a positive response, the better off you are.

Try asking questions such as:

  • This sounds good, doesn't it?
  • If you could make more would want to start now, wouldn't you?

Any question that ends in:

  • aren't you?
  • don't you?
  • won't they?
  • isn't it?
...and so on can be very powerful!

Also, when setting a follow-up appointment, give the person an either/or question, such as:

- Tom, would you be available Tuesday morning or Tuesday afternoon?

Remember, prospecting is a lot about asking and then listening to the other person's answers.

Don't worry about being interesting-focus on being interested. The more interested you are in the other person, the more interesting you will become to them!

TODD FALCONE has been a successful field leader for over a decade. He is also a public speaker, trainer and personal coach to several top producing network marketers. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Carla, and son, Gianni.

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