How To Open Up A Closed End Question

by Michael Oliver

Many Distributors I talk with tell me that they ask questions and sometimes get short one or two word factual answers, such as a 'yes' or a 'no' that are difficult to expand on.

Invariably what they have asked are 'Closed End' as opposed to 'Open End' questions.

Distributors are advised to steer away from Closed End questions because the reply is usually short, factual, and difficult to develop! Actually this is not true! You can take the answer to a Closed End question, open it up and continue to allow the dialogue to flow!

It's quite simple. Let's look at how you can do this!

First we'll explore the difference between the two types of questions.

Open End Questions The answer to an Open End question will usually be more in depth with the conversation opening up. It allows the other person to offer views and opinions that can be easily responded to. An example would be;

What is it about working for yourself that appeals to you?

Closed End Questions Generally the response to a Closed End question is likely to be short and to the point, and can rapidly bring a conversation to a grinding halt! Listen to yourself when answering these Closed End questions;

  1. Do you like where you live?
  2. Do you like your work?
  3. What type of sport do you play if any?
  4. Do you take nutritional supplements?
  5. How's your health?

Did you find you came up with one-word answers? If so, you'll probably agree they tend not to stimulate thoughts or ideas. Also asking a lot of them at once can make another person feel interrogated.

You can open up the answers you get to these Closed End questions by simply asking a question that revolves around the question "WHY?" For example, you might respond to the answers you get to the above questions by asking;

  1. What do you like/don't you like about where you live? (It's still a WHY question!)
  2. What is it you like/don't you like about your work
  3. What is it about the sport you like? Or, Can I ask why you don't play sports?
  4. What nutritional supplements do you take and why those ones in particular? Or, Have you ever thought about taking nutritional supplements?
  5. How do you stay healthy? Or, when you say not so good, can I ask what you mean?

By opening up a Closed End answer using the different ways of asking 'Why?' you create an opportunity to make a conversation more interesting and for a relationship to develop or strengthen.

Michael Oliver is the founder of Natural Selling®, and the author of the best selling book, "How to Sell Network Marketing Without Fear, Anxiety or Losing Your Friends!"

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