The Power Of Questions

Questions are a critical component in the persuasion process.  And there are a multitude of reasons why.  First off, questions enable you to gain someone’s attention. Have you ever noticed that when someone may be talking to you and going on and on and you find yourself in a position where you’re extremely bored that you can suddenly stop and begin paying attention the minute someone asks you a question?

The reason why is because questions put your target on the defensive because they have to think of how they will answer your question and that serves two great purposes. 

The first  – which is the one that I just mentioned – is that they gain attention but secondly, is every time your target has to stop and think of how to answer your question, it gives you the opportunity to stop and think about what you’re going to do next.  In some cases, that time that you are allotted will enable you to make a decision that can be critical to you gaining the result that you want. 

Questions also give your target the ability to speak, which is one of the key aspects of the way people are wired. People simply love to hear themselves talk. In fact, most of the time they are waiting for you to finish speaking so that they can begin.  Every time you ask a question you open the door for them to speak about themselves and this will create a mood that makes them feel good about themselves. This opens the door to your ability to create rapport.

Questions are also of great way to keep a person engaged.  I have found that one of the best ways to overcome situations where there’s an awkward silence is to begin asking the other person questions. Those questions could be about anything but I continue to ask questions every time I feel as though an awkward silent moment may occur and it will instantly break up the monotony.

Questions also help alleviate distractions.  One of the critical rules in the influence process is keeping your target engaged and distractions will work very much against that process taking place. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to divert your target’s attention from whateveris  distracting them back to you so that they’re engaged.  And you can easily do that with a question that is phrased tactfully enough. 

One of the first things that you learn in sales is to ask questions at the beginning of your presentation because they enable you to get all of the objections out in the open so that you can overcome them initially, or prepare yourself to have to overcome them at a later time during the presentation.

Asking questions also will keep you in the driver seat because every time you ask a question and gain a response, you are in control.

You are evoking action in your target when you get them to answer your questions.

Always make sure you know exactly which questions you plan on asking and why.




  • Robert says:

    Thank for a great article I really need to learn this on how to keep one engaged.
    I will pay more attention being ready with the right questions thanks again..

  • This article is right on the money.It reminds me of Tom Hopkins.Always ask questions either before or after the presentation.Great article,thanks.

  • aditya says:

    It is like dribbling with the feet in Indian football. One has both the control and possession of the ball.

  • John says:

    This gives good food for thought. Although I am not in sales, I do notice sometimes when you are talking to people in public areas they do tend to be looking all over the place. I will try questions.
    Well done.

  • Andrew Rynne says:

    I try to sell my services online so as I never actually get to talk to target. I wonder does writing a question work as well? I don’t think so somehow. Good article. Thank you.

    • Paul J Mascetta says:

      Hi Andrew,

      It really depends on what you’re selling. Do you know the demographics of those visiting your site? Do you have an e-mail list? If so, you could always survey them.

  • ganesh says:

    the difference between lecture and communication/ presentation .. thanx

  • Iqbal Ismail says:

    Hi Paul,once again you have come up with some great stuff.Thanks

  • jessica says:

    Excellent article.. aside selling matter..still waiting for 2 responses on a last year calls as well as 2 ones on this year calls .. finding they stay in an ackward situation to respond..without really responding.. which brings reason for not longer asking questions on calls.