Open-ended questions (questions that are answered by more than a simple yes or no) are wonderful for gathering information, qualifying opportunities, and establishing rapport, trust and credibility.
The key here…
Ask the question and let the other person give you their answer.
Write down the ones you find valuable. Memorize them with your team. Print them out. Post them near your phone. Pass them on to your team.
How did you get involved in… ?
Who helped you get involved in…?
What were you doing previously?
What [did, do] you enjoy most about that?
What is the best thing you learned from that?
Where have you learned the most about…?
Who taught you the most about…?
What did you take away from the experience?
How has that impacted you?
What [was, is] the biggest challenge with that?
What advice would you give someone else about that?
What are your thoughts on…?
How did your company get involved in…?
What kind of challenges are you and your company facing?
What’s the most important priority to you and your company right now?
How have you been handling that?
How is that working out?
What effect has that had on you/ your company?
How did you overcome that?
How does that process work now?
What challenges does that process create?
What are the best things about that process?
What does everyone else at your company think about that?
With whom have you had the most success in the past?
What innovative [products, services] has your company introduced over the last couple years?
What does that mean?
How do you mean?
How do you see that working?
What concerns do you have about…?
What other events have you found helpful to attend?
(remember: no leading … no prompting … no interrupting … seriously.)