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Power Questions

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Power Questions

Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Asking good questions and listening to the answers will help you find and keep clients.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Client relationship expert Andrew Sobel and consultant Jerold Panas show how asking the right kind of questions and listening to the responses can strengthen your professional and personal relationships. They explain that asking the right questions matters more than being able to spout easy answers. Asking good questions demonstrates your ability to listen and shows your commitment to your clients. In each of the 35 chapters, the authors tell an anecdote about a “power question,” explain when to use it, and offer alternative questions and potential follow-up queries. Some questions cut to the chase, while others build strong bonds. Some are blue-sky queries, while others are direct. Most of these short chapters aren’t always compelling reading – but they’re useful. The authors provide 293 additional power questions in the index covering winning new business, building relationships, resolving crises, and so forth. getAbstract recommends this hands-on manual to executives, managers and anyone who works with clients.


Questions that Work and Don’t Work

The CEO of a $12-billion company offered a simple explanation about how he forms an opinion of other people in the early stages of a business relationship. He gauges “the quality of their questions and how intently they listen.” This CEO confirmed that good questions open doors and offer more insight than good answers. “Power questions” help you elevate your conversations, unlock new opportunities and “get directly to the heart of the matter.”

“What Would You Like to Know About Us?”

In a meeting, three consultants tried to convince five senior executives to hire them for their firm. One prospective client started, as expected, with a softball question: “Tell us a bit about yourselves.” The lead consultant described his firm’s history, its team approach and how well its consultants listen. After he talked for 30 minutes, the client’s VP closed the meeting, saying she had another appointment. The consultants had learned nothing about the client’s goals or challenges.

A year later, one of the consultants was on a similar sales call with a senior partner, DeWitt, a veteran of hundreds of such meetings. The prospect asked...

About the Authors

Client relationship expert Andrew Sobel wrote All for One and Clients for Life. Jerold Panas is CEO of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners, a consulting firm advising nonprofits on fundraising.

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