Why Are You In This Business?

I recently came across an interesting question that every business person should ask their clients:  Why are you in this business?

Seems so simple, doesn’t it?  So, why should you ask it of your clients?  In a nutshell, because it begins an important process for both the client and you, as their business resource.  Here are a few more reasons to ask:

  • It starts the learning process. By asking a client why they operate a business in their chosen field helps them articulate what is important to them. Once you identify what is important, you can begin to formulate ways to help them be successful.
  • It gets the client thinking about his/her current position in the market. Does this position align with where they want to be at this stage?
  • It sparks their motivation and helps re-energize their commitment to being successful.  This is a good time to reconsider short and long-term goals and strategies.
  • It shows interest.  By asking this basic question, you show that you care about their business. This interest builds the foundation for sincere, loyal relationships.
  • It is plain-ol’ interesting!  By understanding the path of the client’s interests, you learn their story, which is just fun to do!

The next time you meet with a client, potential client or colleague, try asking them why they do what they do.  See where the conversation brings you.  Really listen to their responses.  Think about how you may contribute to their business in a meaningful way. I think you will find that it begins not only a very interesting conversation, but deepens your relationship with this individual.

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