3 years ago

Life-changing questions to ask your customers (for which they’ll thank you 10 years from now


Aaaaahhhh, there you are, Sherlock. Sitting comfortably?


Let us begin.

Your customers will walk through the doors of your little shop this morning with at least one question running through their head.

They may not know how to articulate it, but . . . 

They have a question. Guaranteed.

If it’s a bad morning, they’ll have two or three, or more.

(That’s bad, because then it's a juggling act. And they know they’ll never get to CHOMP on the apple. Too busy keeping them in the air. No clarity. No focus.)

What are those questions?


If you want to really ingratiate yourself to your cus- . . . . Whoops!


You don’t want to ingratiate yourself.

Oh no. Nope. Nada. Selfish.

You want to serve them.

You want to set aside your own agenda. Rephrase: You want to stop chewing over your own questions, and find out what theirs are.

Focus off yourself. Onto them.

OK, Take 2. If you really want to serve your customers . . . . you’ll probe gently, sensitively, wisely, patiently . . . . and learn what those questions are.

It may take time. The question may be very embarrassing for them. They may not have any trust in your ability to help them.

But learn what those questions are.

Two reasons:

One. Almost everyone feels like they’re fighting their enemies alone.

And a battle shared, is a battle half-won.

(The Duke of Wellington gets a lot of credit for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Maybe a bit too much credit.

Field Marshall Blücher had thrown all his Prussian forces at Napoleon at the Battle of Ligny two days earlier. And he'd taken a pasting.

He could have done with Wellington's support, but Wellington suddenly found himself confronted with Napoleon's Marshall Ney at Quatre Bras. Napoleon's strategy was to split Wellington and Blücher's forces apart. 

But Napoleon did not trust his marshalls, and didn't communicate his intentions well with hot-headed Marshall Ney.

Wellington and Blücher, on the other hand, respected each other greatly.

Such was Wellington's respect for Blücher, that he believed Blücher would march his bloodied men to support him at Waterloo, even though he had been unable to do the same for Blücher two days earlier. 

Remember what I said: A battle shared, is a battle half-won.)

Two. There’s a fighting chance . . . . beggin' yer pardon for the pun . . . .  

. . . . that you might be able to solve that problem for them.

Guess what? Your value in the marketplace has just gone waaaaaaaayyy up.

And word gets around, doncha know?

Sheesh! You got that problem? Go see my mate Sherlock. Solves everything. 221B Baker Street, tell him I sent ya.

And now, would you like to know how Sherlock can get paid a REALLY FAT BONUS?

It calls for some wisdom, because only a few customers will actually appreciate this kind of service. You’ll need to have served them long and well, before they’ll trust you asking them this.

The essential service is, What are the questions that, 10 years from now, your customers will wish someone had asked them?

10 years from now, for example, YOU, if you’re smart, will be asking yourself:

Why didn’t I make THAT happen back then? Why did I hold myself back?

(My daughter came come just now, and said that she’d been out adulting.

She’d booked a hair appointment, with a totally new hairdresser, gone to it on her own, tolerated the haircut (she hates people touching her hair), tolerated the small talk (hates that too), and came home thrilled, with a new, sassy bob cut. 

She’d been holding herself back for years. And it really wasn’t that bad. Powerful pleased with herself now.)

Why did I allow THAT to happen? Why didn’t I see THAT coming? Why did I put up with THAT for so long? What were the warning signs I ignored, that could have prevented THAT?

Why did I do THAT? What on earth was I thinking?

Why was I so obsessed with THAT? Why was I so SILLY?

(Hint: The answer is almost always, FEAR.)

When you have the right customer, at the right time, in the right place (I did say, it calls for wisdom) . . . . you can ask them these questions.

Better yet, you can help them ask themselves.

If you succeed, you will have gained a client (and a friend) for life. You will set them up (and thereby, yourself) . . . .

. . . . for New Levels of Success.

For new, and more challenging cases, Sherlock.

(Photo credit: Pixabay)

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