ask questions about them

It’s All About Them

Guest Post by Shira Lotzar, Purposeful Hire

You jump on a Zoom call with a prospective client, and after a few pleasantries, the prospect says something like: “So, tell me about your firm.”

If your instinct is like most people’s, you launch into answering their question. After all, that’s what you were taught in kindergarten, right? The teacher asks you a question, and you answer it.

While our excellent grade school training works just fine in most life and work relationships, it falls a bit short in a sales meeting because it presumes that the person asked the right question.

In this case, the prospect didn’t actually ask you the wrong question, they just didn’t ask you the best question. What they SHOULD be asking (and what you should be answering) is: “How can you help our organization?” In order to answer that question, you need to find out a few things first by tossing the tennis ball back in their court with more questions about THEM.

The first time you try this, it may feel like you’re being evasive. But it’s not being evasive, it’s simply being relational. Because the focus of your sales meeting should be about solving their problems, not just offering your solutions.

Here’s a response you can try:

“Thanks for asking, Eduardo. I’d be delighted to share more about my business. First, though, I’d love to hear more about your specific challenges, so I can share the most relevant aspects of my practice that would best address your needs.”

Then you can prompt them with a few strategic questions related to your practice areas.

Let’s say you specialize in fixing broken widget-making processes. You might ask:

Tell me about the biggest challenge with your current widget-making process.

  • This quickly narrows the scope of the problem to what they actually want to invest in solving.

How urgently do you need your widget-making problem solved?

  • This indicates whether you have the bandwidth to help them (and also tells you whether you need to buckle up for a long sales cycle.)

If I’m wildly successful, how would your widget-making process improve?

  • This shows what type of skills it will require to solve their problem, so you can showcase your related superpowers (or refer them to a different consultant.)

Have you ever worked with a consultant like me in the past to fix this process, and how did the engagement turn out?

  • This spotlights the speed bumps to avoid AND helps you overcome any objections they might have in hiring another consultant.

As your prospect begins to share their answers, you can punctuate the conversation with examples of times you helped similar clients, and what makes you stand out from your friendly competitors.

The best part about this approach? Your prospect will feel heard (which shows you care), and you’ll be able to address their actual needs (which shows you really care.)

And that’s what relationship building is all about.

About the Author

Shira Lotzar, Chief Engagement Officer with Purposeful Hire, is a small business branding coach, career coach and executive recruiter who also leads a community service project,, which empowers 50+ professionals to re-career into self-employment.

Her passion is helping people fulfill their divine purpose through serving others in their work. Her tagline says it best: For Every Hire, There is a Higher Purpose.

Reach her at or 703-508-9573.