I’m a pretty curious person (some might call it nosey!) and throughout my adult life I’ve often found that this has formed the basis for some great friendships. I enjoy asking questions and finding out about the ins and outs, and ups and downs of people’s lives.
Let’s face it, asking questions is human nature. The first thing we do when we see our husbands and wives of an evening is ask how their day was, or what they’ve been up to at work. We ask our friends how they’re doing? And when asking my five-year-old son what he had for lunch that day, or who he played with in the playground, I get told to “stop asking me so many questions – I CAN’T REMEMBER!!”
“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” – Chinese proverb.
At McQueenie Mulholland we ask lots of questions. We use questions to get to the heart of our clients’ needs and aims. After all, research and the art of being nosey and finding ‘stuff’ out is what the world’s most successful companies and brands are really good at. Tesco recently announced that it was changing the layout in 50 of its stores because customers wanted related meal items next to each other. It asked, customers answered. Facebook have just announced that they’re including a ‘dislike’ button. Why? Because, when asked, Facebook users told them this was what they wanted.
As a small business owner, how are you going to find new customers, if you don’t know what drives your existing customers to your business? And how are you planning to reach your new customers if you don’t know which media channels they use and respond to? And how can you develop new product ranges if you’re not entirely sure whether people actually want them.
It’s all about asking questions, and making sure that you listen and use the answers. Just like being nosey on a personal level, but making sure that the questions asked are relevant and pertinent. Or in the words of Albert Einstein:
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper questions to ask.”