Don’t ask What – figure out Why instead
If we all would be just a bit better at handling conflicts it would make life a lot easier, right? The key of handling conflicts is often to realize the reason(s) behind the conflict in the first place. If you do not understand why a conflict exist you will end up trying to solve the wrong problem. This is true in business but also in most people’s everyday life.
For example, the other day a friend of mine complained about his wife giving him a hard time for not noticing her new hair cut. The argument had grown a bit out of proportion and he was feeling frustrated. He was ironizing about taking a photo of her everyday and compare, in order to refrain from trouble in the future. This was obviously not the best solution.
The root of the problem was of course not related to the the hair cut. From an outside view it felt quite obvious there was a matter of bad communication. If he tried to keep track of her hairstyles he may temporarily solve the problem but likely find himself in another argument, next month, about some other trivial thing.
Instead if he would ask: ”Honey, what’s wrong? Is everything ok?” while communicating how precious she is to him it would probably give a more lasting effect.
Resolving conflicts and handling relations is of course important in a sales perspective as well. The key to a good relationship with your customers is to have sales people (or a sales tool) helping the customer to figure out their core problem. If you only ask your customers which kind of glasses they need, they may never consider contact lenses or perhaps corrective eye surgery as a solution.
The general rule of addressing the core problem is the same as for my friend: communication. You need to ask the right questions. Your sales tool should not necessarily ask What product your customer wants, it should figure out the Why of the customer’s problem. Knowing this, your company will be able to provide the correct How and find the best solution to the customers problem.
That will, in fact, make your customer’s life a lot easier.