The Three Questions work because you are creating and reinforcing a relationship with your customer. And you are paying them the compliment of asking their input. Everyone likes positive attention – so be positive! Don’t act like you are a burden to them. You are asking their opinion on a few things. It makes them feel important.
Here are a few more things to consider when implementing the Three Questions.
- Choose the correct person to ask the Three Questions.
The correct person is someone who has the potential for a strategic business relationship. Someone who is looking for ways to improve their business.
So it cannot be the person your salesperson is already speaking to or the procurement person who is placing the current orders. They likely have already pigeon-holed you.
It might be the manager of the salesperson’s contact. Or the management of the team who is using your product or service. Or even the CEO (who may be happy to speak to your CEO).
At the same time be discerning. Recognize some customers just consider you a vendor and don’t want a relationship with you. Just more and cheaper. Don’t waste your time trying to create a connection where none is desired.
- The Three Questions is a conversation. Not an email, a presentation, or a survey.
Here is the logic behind the questions.
- Why do you buy from me?
You recognize their importance.
You are getting the truth as to why you are the preferred vendor.
You are finding out whether you will continue to be the preferred vendor in the future.
If you ask this question correctly, they will feel appreciated. And you are reminding your customer why they buy from you.
- Why did you choose me over my competitors?
You are thanking them for making that decision.
You are getting the truth as to why you were selected over your competition.
You will find out whether your competition is calling the customer (they are) and what they are doing to try to woo the customer away.
If you ask this question correctly, they will feel appreciated and reminding them why they were correct to choose you. You are also causing the customer to recall why they chose you over others (sometimes they forget too).
- How can I earn more business from you?
Now that they know you appreciate them and consider their opinions important…
Now that they remember why they chose you over the competition and continued to do so…
You are now in the position to ask them for more business. I find much of the time the reason why they didn’t give you more business is that they (1) have you pigeonholed, (2) didn’t think of you (because you weren’t calling them), and (3) you didn’t ask.
Plus you are not asking them for another order… now. You are asking them what you do to earn more business from them. You are asking them what you can do to improve their business.
- There is a fourth question.
Something we always want and usually fail to collect is a reference. And now you have set up a situation where you are most likely to get one. Maybe it can be as large as a case study. Maybe it can be a quote you can use on your website. Maybe it will just be a story to tell to others in the company. But this is a great time to get one.
The fourth question is.
- What do you like best about working with my company? Can I quote you on that?
- The Three Questions are not only asked once – or just by one person.
You are creating a relationship. As you implement the Three Questions, your team will find opportunities to have this conversation with their counterparts, in and outside of your company.