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Forget the Killer App: What’s Your Killer Question? The Secret to Winning Business and Fans.

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.


About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He has authored book and audio series including How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who've created $63 billion in value from scratch, and How They Did It Nightingale-Conant audio program . His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash, a strategy execution team, and The Association of Interim Executives, which champions interim management as its own global specialty. You can also find Robert on Google+ and Twitter. View all posts by Robert Jordan

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