I recently joined a webinar offered by my alma mater’s alumni association where Sara Laschever shared her research and insights around the topic of “Learning to Ask: Women and the Power of Negotiation.”
One of the many helpful points Sara shared was centered on asking questions. When trying to negotiate, she stressed it is essential to put yourself in the other’s shoes—try to understand the other party’s perspective and ask questions to find out what they want.
This reminds me of our work at Farland Group, facilitating Customer Advisory Board meetings. In these meetings the executive customers provide advice to the sponsoring vendor on how they wish to be served. Hearing from a customer how a product, service, or process can be improved to drive more value affords our clients the opportunity to respond in the moment with additional questions—leading to greater understanding. The power of in-person dialogue is something a written satisfaction survey, no matter how well-written, fails to capture.
Back-and-forth dialogue and asking the right questions unlocks invaluable insights that otherwise might have been lost. When contemplating your business strategy, consider your customers’ mindset and directly ask them for advice—the results may be surprising.