Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others Hardcover – 28 Feb 2012
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A powerful question can turn a tepid conversation into a revealing encounter, as demonstrated by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas in their engaging new book, Power Questions...first–rate and very helpful. The Globe and Mail
Power Questions...is already my favorite, keep–it–close–at–hand business book. I read the book in a single sitting and within 24 hours landed a speaking engagement by asking a few of the 337 Essential Questions that Sobel and Panas have carefully matched to 35 common business–related situations. Forbes.com
Forget trying to be brilliant or clever on your feet to sell a prospect. Power questions will refocus meetings, stop people in their tracks and help you win new business. American Express.com, Top 10 Business Books for the Summer
An inspirational read...strongly recommended Midwest Library Journal
The greatest gift you can give someone is to ask what he or she thinks, and truly listen to the answer. Sobel and Panas turn this powerful idea into practical, compelling advice by asking questions that reveal surprising, often life–changing, answers. Ralph W. Shrader, Chairman and CEO, Booz Allen Hamilton
This book is amazing. It packs a wallop. It gets you inside the mind and heart of a person. I strongly recommend it. John Schlifske, Chairman and CEO, Northwestern Mutual
Power Questions is easy to pick up, but hard to put down. Andrew and Jerry give a veritable playbook for building stronger relationships. Whether you read it cover–to–cover or just open a page to prepare for a new meeting, it s a valuable resource no matter where you are in your career. Frank D′Souza, CEO, Cognizant
Read this remarkable book and keep it handy, because these questions have the power to enrich every segment of your life. Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level
Reading Power Questions is like listening in to the most amazing array of private conversations with CEOs, politicians, religious authorities, and entrepreneurs. A joyous read. David Sable, Global CEO, Young & Rubicam
Andrew Sobel and Jerry Panas have developed the thought–provoking thesis in their book of the importance of asking questions to tailor advice and build relationships. Their work is illustrated with plenty of examples, and their premise becomes more convincing page by page. Sir Winfried Bischoff, Chairman, Lloyds Banking Group
From the Inside Flap
Unlock the power of great questions
What do you think most engages a prospective client, or makes a lasting impression on someone you′ve just met? The popular belief is that we win business by being clever and quick on our feet, and that our brilliance saying just the right thing is what attracts others. But as Power Questions compellingly demonstrates, knowing the right question to ask is actually far more important than having a ready answer.
Power Questions can immediately help you win more business, deepen your relationships, and connect with people more rapidly than you ever thought possible. It shows you how to use thought–provoking questions to engage prospects and uncover their most pressing issues. It gives you the tools to get inside the heart and mind of anyone you meet. In thirty–five inspiring chapters, you′ll meet a fascinating group of men and women. Through these riveting, real–life stories, you′ll learn exactly how each power question was used and the impact it had. You′ll discover how you can transform your daily conversations and even someone′s life through powerful questions that anyone can master.
You′ll learn how Steve Jobs asked a single motivating question that led to breakthrough results in developing the Macintosh personal computer. You′ll see how an unasked question cost a major company a huge project bid. Other powerful examples include:
- The question that stopped an angry executive in his tracks
- The sales question CEOs expect you to ask, versus the questions they want you to ask
- The question that can radically refocus any meeting
- A simple question that helped restore a marriage
- The penetrating question that can transform the life of a friend or colleague
Put these questions to use and you will connect more deeply with your clients, drive quickly to the heart of problems, and unlock your professional and personal influence in unexpected and delightful ways.See all Product description
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How so "interdependent"? If an organization does not build and constantly strengthen relationships with everyone involved in the given enterprise, it will lose its most valuable employees, clients, and allies and, for the same reasons, fail to replace them. True, this company "influences others" but in all he wrong ways.
Sobel and Panas organize their material within 35 chapters that contain a total of 42 questions (five in Chapter 35) within a narrative significantly enhanced by anecdotes that illustrate the power of questions that can either strengthen or weaken a relationship, increase or reduce the chances of achieving a desired objective. Then 293 additional "Power" questions are provided in the final section, "Not Just for Sunday."
I really appreciate how cleverly Sobel and Panas frame their material in a reader-friendly fashion. For example, they pose a question and then suggest how and when to use that question most effectively. One of my personal favorites is "Is this the best you can do?" apparently one that many others such as Steve Jobs and Henry Kissinger have frequently posed. Sobel and Panas note that use of this question should be reserved for occasions "when it is especially desirable for someone to do their very best and push themselves to their strained and stretched limits." I agree. They then suggest when specifically to use the question and alternative versions of the question, and alternative versions of it. This is a clever format repeated throughout the book. Here are three other "Power Questions" that caught my eye:
"What did you learn from that?" (Chapter 16)
Comment: Every setback (don't call it a failure) should be a valuable learning opportunity.
"Can we start over?" (Chapter 8)
Comment: What isn't working, what isn't happening, will reveal what will. The Lakota suggest never feeding a dead horse.
"What do you wish you could do more of?"
Comment: The best career advice I ever encountered was offered by Teresa Amabile during a commencement address at Stanford. In effect, do what you love (and are passionate about) because you will then be doing what you do best. People do not necessarily have to change a position to do what they do best and love most.
Some of the power questions work best in a career situation, others in a personal situation, and still others in both. Think of the 337 questions that Sobel and Panas pose and discuss as a base, a foundation, on which to build skills first exemplified by Socrates (c. 469 BC - 399 BC).
To those who are about to read this brilliant book, I presume to suggest they keep this question in mind: In which situations will asking the right questions be most important to me? For some people, this may well be the most valuable book on building healthy relationships that they will ever read...but only IF they continuously apply effectively what they have learned.
Andrew Sobel is a rare writer, presenter, and workshop host, that deals in 'Real Reality'. In the 'Real World', if you don't have relationships you don't have big sales and/or margins - people buy in spite of you; because your price is so low you beat everyone. If you want to establish fair margins, keep clients and customers, have enjoyable working sessions with clients, and generally enjoy your business life - you need to be an expert on building and maintaining business relationships.
Andrew is unusual - He's an market specialist in this area alone. That's hard to do and why there are so few people as well developed in Business Relationships as Andrew - because its a very hard subject to sell to Training Managers and Boards of Directors. I know because I've struggled through many meetings try to do that very thing. Most people think they are great at relationships - and in turn, they hire people who are great as well. Not True. If it were true then our relationships with our suppliers and collaborators would be great - after all, they all believe they are great relationship builders as well.
After years of talking about this and selling programs to senior management, (mostly frustrating meetings where management and trainers talk in military terms about 'sales attack tactics' and 'controlling the sales process'), I realised you might as well be asking someone if they are good in bed? And you know what? They'd all say they were - its just the other person that's the problem. We are in denial about how important business realationship are. (I used to work for a huge technology business in the UK - why did we always have spare tickets to every major sporting event if we had good relationships with Board Directors?)
Try this then for a start - if you don't know your major client's wife (or husband's) name, their birthday, their children's names and ages, where they live, their ambitions (say 2 of them) and their most important interests outside of work - you don't know your client very well. (And don't now go and ask them all that stuff because you'll really hack them off and they will get very defensive - rightly so because your motives are all wrong as well!)
All major, profitable, sales are built upon good relationships. No relationship - either no sale or no margin. You need to stay outside the denial zone and understand this stuff if you are going to get anywhere near the top in business.
Andrew Sobel is a great guy to follow because he's stuck with the subject for nearly twenty years now. The only other guy I know like that is Charles Greene, so you might like to buy and try the above book and match it up with Charles Greene's new book The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust Sobel and Greene are the experts in this field, (which I worked in a lot ten years ago). Trust me I did the research to find anyone who works in this field and use their material - these two were the best (AND you can email both of them and get great answers to your questions)
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