Be Prepared for the Tough Questions

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Regardless of your role, you will be challenged with tough questions. If you are a salesperson, bigstock-D-Question-Mark-1317415those questions will come from your clients. As a leader, the questions will come from peers, your superior or board, or even from your team. How do you handle questions that challenge your position?

It is important that you completely understand what is being asked. The question may be ambiguous. Or, it may not be the real question; what is actually being asked or the challenge to your position may lie beneath the surface of what is asked. The best way to completely understand the challenge is to repeat the question back; use your own words and restate the question a different way.

After you understand what is being asked, answer with examples of expertise that support your position. Examples of personal experience are good. If a client is challenging whether your product will work well for him, give examples of other similar clients for which your product solved problems. If you, as a leader, are being challenge for a decision, give examples from your past decisions that support this decision. Cite experts’ opinions or examples that apply.

Portray confidence when you answer. You are confident in your product or the decision you have made, aren’t you? Confidence in yourself will come through in your interaction with the questioner, as will fear, or lack of confidence. Know your reasons for making the decision, or for making a product recommendation.

Finally, ask clarifying, open-ended questions. Often, the person challenging you, through their answers to your questions, will convince themselves that you are right.

There is no better way to learn, or to teach, than through questions. Look at being questioned as an opportunity to teach. Use being questioned to your advantage.

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