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  • Brett Zalaski

What Pre-Schoolers Taught Me About Effective Questioning


It was 'Pet Week' at my 4-year-old step-son's pre-school, so we took our 1-year-old maltipoo Duke to his class. He's the black fur-ball in the picture below (Get After It Sales fans will know Rudy The Ticket Sales Dog with him). After walking Duke around the school for 10 minutes before, he pooped on the floor almost immediately from fear of 15 4-year-olds running at him. If I was Duke, I probably would have, too.


After 10 minutes of Duke clinging to me while all those 4-year-olds slapped, I mean pet him, it was time for my step-son to talk about him. He crushed it (outside of 'maltipoop' for 'maltipoo'). I was so proud of him.


At the end of him talking, the class was able to ask questions. Here's where #sportsbiz sales reps and 4-year-olds intersect. As the teacher asked for hands to ask questions, she said, 'Make sure it's a question, not a story.'


And every kid with their hand-raised kept it up. And every one of them, once called on, started telling a story before she cut them off with, 'That's a story, not a question.'


A month ago a pro sports team called me to try and sell me tickets. They never asked me any questions about me...they asked me questions only to get to information so they could sell me. And it reminded me entirely of talking to these 4-year-olds. Nobody raised their hands to truly learn about Duke...they raised their hands so they could talk about themselves.


Truly effective questioning comes from a desire to genuinely learn about the prospective client. When we ask questions solely so we can talk after, our clients know that. They know you're a salesperson and that you care more about the sale than their experience.


An ineffective question goes, 'Where did you sit?'...and only asked to get a piece of information they can use to sell back to the client.


An effective question goes, 'Where did you sit?' LISTENS, THEN...'What did you like about that seat location?' LISTENS, THEN...'In a perfect world, where would you sit?' They are not asking questions solely to get information to talk or sell back...they are asking questions because they genuinely care about the buyer's experience.

This simple change in your approach and mindset will make you a better salesperson, if solely because you'll get BETTER information. I also think you'll be shocked at the results you get when you treat people like people, and not potential sales. The quote on the left here is perfect...but I'd add just one thing; The more we'll sell, too!!!