What great questions can you ask?

Great leaders ask great questions, do you?

A lot of what I speak on centres around asking questions. Questions that help companies attract and sustain profitable business. This month I thought it might be helpful for you if I shared just a few of the hundreds of questions I have created over the last two years. Your mission is to apply them to your business and see where they lead you.

Questions are fuel for your imagination, fuel that allows you to excel further than you have ever been before. Questions unlock creativity, unlock boundaries and allow you to step outside your current existence. Questions change your perspective, challenge your awareness and ignite your curiosity. Great leaders ask great questions, do you?

1. What other accessories could you build for your product/service?
Have you noticed that many companies have shifted to being in the accessory business? It’s no longer the clothes you wear but the accessories that go with it? Gaming units are practically given away so that more people can buy the games. You can get a great printer for less than $100 but the ink seems to last half the time. Dinner out now means the drink, the wine, the appetizer, the entrée, the dessert, the dessert wine and the cigar. You get the picture.

2. How could you build a gender specific offering?
What would happen? Would you use different colours, would you communicate differently, would you offer different services? Would you attract a more exclusive audience? Perhaps instead of gender, you segmented on target market.

3. If you could change one thing, what would it be?
Listen to your answer and ask why you haven’t done it. The ideas that will come to mind are usually very relevant.

4. What other companies could you bundle your product/service with?
Are there other companies that would benefit from selling your product/service as part of their offering? Can you create an exclusive bundle?

5. How can you deliver your product/service faster?
How can you go from order to delivery in half the time? What steps could you take out?

6. What if you had a “lite” version?
Could you create a teaser product/service that gets customers to start using an element of what you offer? A “lite” version reduces the barrier to entry, reduces customer risk and puts your product in more people’s hands.

7. How can you get more “press coverage?”
What could you do to get more people talking about what you are doing? What could you do to create attention? Can you help a great cause? Can you do something unique? What would make you newsworthy?

8. How can you help your customers afford more of you?
Lee Iacocca founded the principles of auto financing based on this question. Can you bring customers together to share expenses, can you finance? Can you find financing partners for them? Can you pull from different budgets (i.e. capital vs. operation?)

9. What could you teach your customers that would give them more value?
Nobody knows your product better than you. What can you share? What new idea could you give them? How would you use it? Are other customers doing great things that you should be writing up? The more value you can create there more they will want to stick with you.

10. How could you double your business?
If you needed to double your business, what would you do? If you could do one thing to double your business what would it be?

11. What would your customer do?
What would your customer do if they were in charge? What would they change? What would they add? How would they do it differently? If you don’t know the answer, why not ask your customer.

I hope this month you will spend some time thinking about these questions and asking others. If you have any great questions I would love to hear them and share them with others.

Curt Skene