Author and negotiation coach Jim Camp says the most powerful way to paint a picture in a negotiation is to ask a great question. Imagine walking into a car lot and a sales associate saying “I have the perfect car for you”. What if instead they asked a question that helped you see and discover how your ideal car fits into your life? A question that brings such vivid images to mind that you will make a decision and take action.
This reminded me of an entrepreneur who had negotiated the sale of his company, but right before the deal closed, saw his potential fortune begin to unravel. An employee had made misleading statements, the buyer sensed tension and said the deal was off. Eventually the entrepreneur was given one chance to redeem himself, scoring a meeting with the CEO of the public company that had wanted to buy him.
The initial inclination of many might be to dive into why the employee was wrong, then beg and plead, and then try to make the case again for the acquisition. But if you do that, you don’t know what is going through the mind of the person sitting across the table from you. So take a more powerful approach:
The entrepreneur decided to ask one question. “What do I have to do to prove that my words and actions are true?” That one question led the CEO to lay out in excruciating detail what had to occur, what hoops the entrepreneur had to jump through to now close the deal. And jump he did, eventually closing the sale.
Do you have this tool in your arsenal? What’s your killer question, the question that paints a vision in the mind of your customer, investor, partner or employee? Figure out your killer question – it could make your career.Leave a comment