Rently, Barry Horwitz did a great post on the importance of asking good questions. His basic premise is that if we want to do a good job (as consultants, lawyers, etc.) digging deeper and challenging assumptions is critical.
He also pointed out that as adults 👨🏽👩🏻🦰👨🏻🦲, we ask a far fewer questions than when we did when we were young children 🧒🏻. In part, that’s because we want to appear smart 🤯. (Barry points out that as a general proposition, a four year old will ask 400 questions in a day while a 44 year old will ask only six.) Follow the link in the comments to read more.
Asking good questions is good for our clients. If we fail to probe deeply enough, we may end up solving the “wrong” problem. Doctors 🩺like to talk about the “presenting problem”. Good medicine requires doctors to figure out the “underlying problem”.
As it turns out, asking great questions is also great marketing.
One of the best ways to grow your practice is to deepen your relationships with existing clients. Doing a competent job as a lawyer is a given. That may very well keep the client coming back for more. It may result in good referrals.
But if you want to cross sell other services to clients, you need to ask a lot of questions. And listen to the answers!
What other challenges are they seeing in their business? What else are they working on now? Do they need referrals to any other professionals (e.g an accountant, graphic designer, real estate broker, or financial planner)?
Asking good questions is the way we uncover other needs that clients may have. Some of these may be needs that other lawyers in our firm can handle. Some of these may be needs that our referral partners can handle (which of course strengthens our relationship with these referral partners).
Some of these needs may simply be personal (a good movie recommendation, a good plumber, a willingness to speak to their son who is applying to your alma mater, travel tips, etc.).
Even if you are not selling your own services or the services of your firm, when you share resources with clients, you are deepening your relationship. The same is true when you are out networking with accountants, realtors, bankers, and other professionals who you want to cultivate.