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Open-Ended Solutions

How we frame the question opens up the conversation with our client

How we – as the expert – frame our opening statements sets the stage for the interaction with the client.

If you’ve ever walked into a retail store and were greeted with, “Let me know if you need anything,” you probably didn’t buy more than you needed – if you bought anything at all.

Why? Because “let me know if you need anything” puts the onis on the customer. It is a closed statement that places the responsibility on someone other than the expert.

Rather, statements that open the conversation and place the expert in a position to help include:

  • What brings you in today?

  • What are you looking for?

  • What does success look like to you?

  • How may I assist you?

  • Can I do X for you?

  • What are you struggling with?

  • What two things can I help you with?

My favorite lately has been: How can I best support you?

These opening statements put the emphasis on the client, take a humble approach, and create an opportunity for the expert to provide a service.

You can tailor each of these to your specific specialty:

  • What hairstyle are you thinking about today?

  • What chores in your home can I help you with?

  • What are two of the struggles your sales team is battling?

  • What is your goal for this photoshoot?

Put the priority on the needs of the client and they will happily tell you how you can provide the service.

With this in mind, how can I best support you this week?


P.S. Advertising an “open door policy” to employees is the same kind of closed statement – it requires them to take action and allows the leader to ignore problems because they did not walk through the door.

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