The Importance of Asking Questions

Are You Asking Your Clients the Right Questions?

How often are you posing questions to your clients and customers? What questions are you asking? And are you using the answers to help strengthen your business offerings and customer service?

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, asking your clients questions—and particularly, asking the right questions that will draw out insightful answers—can help transform your business. Many people don’t realize that simple curiosity and inquisitiveness can make a big difference in their business’ success, but it’s true! In our many years of experience assisting entrepreneurs, we know firsthand that this strategy can propel your business forward!

Why is asking questions important for small business owners?

First and foremost, asking questions, really listening to your clients, and taking the answers to heart shows that you care. Your clients want to know that you value them; their needs, their opinions. Your services will always be superior when you’re clearly serving real needs and knowledge gaps. Asking questions allows you to align your work with what your clients really need and desire.

Asking questions helps you step inside your clients’ and customers’ shoes to better understand what they really need. You might have a general idea of what your clients want from you and your business, what goals they’re trying to achieve, or what need they are trying to satisfy. But what do you think would happen if you dug a little deeper? Getting deeper insight into your clients’ goals, challenges, hobbies, and habits might help you better understand how to craft your products and services to perfectly suit them.

Asking questions is the best way to get feedback from your clients, but also the perfect way to maintain a true sense of how your brand, products, and services are experienced by your customers. The answers you receive can help you learn how to create a roadmap for success moving forward, and also give you deeper insight into the entire mandate of your business.

Determine Your Competitive Advantage

Would you be surprised to learn that many small businesses that we work with aren’t sure what their competitive advantage actually is? Do YOU know what your competitive advantage is for your business?

One of the best ways to determine what sets you apart from others is to get honest, real feedback from the people who interact with your brand often. Prepare yourself for both the good, the bad, and the ugly—but embrace it and use it to your advantage! While it may hurt at first, finding out about any shortcomings within your customer experience is the first step towards improving your customer service operations. If, on the other hand, you find customers raving about an aspect of your business, you can focus on that in your marketing plan and capitalize on it.

Seeking answers for your business can help you build your brand presence, take advantage of what sets you apart from your competition, and elevate your marketing campaigns in order to spread the word on why new customers might love you just as much as your current ones.

“Intelligent questions stimulate, provoke, inform and inspire.” – Paul Sloane

What questions should I be asking my customers?

What a great question! Understanding the importance of asking questions is only the first step. Asking the right questions is just as important. Here are some great questions you can ask your clients and customers to gain meaningful insight into your business:

  • Why did you pick us? What made you hire us/buy from us in the first place?
  • How did you find us? How did we compare to other businesses you considered?
  • What has been your best experience with our business so far?
  • Has there been a time when we haven’t met your expectations?  
  • What’s one thing we could do to create a better experience for you?
  • Have you referred us to anyone you know? Why or why not?
  • Is there something we could be doing better to meet your needs?
  • Are there other needs that we could help you with?

Pro Tip: Doing an annual survey relayed in your email newsletter is a great way to get real, honest feedback from your clients.

It’s also a good idea to pause and ask questions in your direct dealings with your clients and customers. Surveys can be great because sometimes people feel more honest when they aren’t speaking with you directly, however, waiting a full year to ask questions is an awfully long time. Use your regular interactions with your clients to get to know how they’re feeling.

So here’s our question to you: How are you going to start incorporating questions into your customer and client interactions? What questions will you pose to learn more about your own business and gain deeper insights? The ball is in your court. Asking questions can help your small business succeed, so take the time to craft deep questions that you can pose to your customers and clients. If you need some help formulating a feedback plan, creating a survey, or just getting tasks done, contact us today.

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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