The Huthwaite Research Corporation observed 10,000 salespeople in 23 countries and found that the top persuaders are far more interested in asking than telling. It's what they ask that's vital.
Establishing the size and implications of the problem
Here's the most important question line: 'You've mentioned that you have a problem with X, how big a problem is it?' and 'What effect is it having?' or 'What would happen if you did nothing about it?'
When you and the other person really know the size of the problem, you can work together to find a solution to match. Very few people do that - even for themselves when they make decisions.
Understanding the client's interests
Never suggest a solution until you know the size or the implications of a problem or opportunity.
If your customers or colleagues realise that it really is a big issue, they'll be happy to invest more money or time. If it's minor, look for a simple solution. Maybe it's not worth the dollars, time or hassle it would take to fix it. That's okay too.
Genuine enquiry, looking for what's right for the other person, will help you build your relationship on trust and help you and your colleagues make a better decision.