A few day’s ago, I started a new life as entrepreneur and owner of my own company “Toubipbip Secrétariat Médical Téléphonique”. It has been exciting and fun days… less stress than what I expected but in the same time more complex than I thought.
I started the process of buying the company a few months ago and even if the seller gave me a lot of information regarding the staff, customers, tools and finance, once you are in the company you see things from a different angle. I need to know the full picture as fast as possible. And now, I have full access to all information, customers and the team.
In the first days, I planned to do a lot of things and analysis but I did none of those planned activities. I did way better !!! I took the time to meet and discuss with a lot of people: collaborators of course, some customers and prospects, suppliers, the seller and bankers.
To every meeting, I came with one weapon: open-ended question ! It’s not always easy to express a question that does not include the answer or the direction you want. But those questions are really powerful.
One of my colleagues told me during our first meeting “I don’t like open-ended question. I prefer to answer by yes or no”. Mmmh! She won’t like my answer but I’ll try. I asked her “For what reason don’t you like open-ended question ?” She started to express her opinion and point of view. One question leading to another question, always open-ended (or a least most of them), we discuss during more than 1 hour and she gave me a lot of precious information not only about her but also about potential service evolution, wellness at work, customers segmentation,… My question was the start of a really interesting discussion with someone who don’t like to answer question.
During all those meeting, I wrote some keywords and important information but most of the time, I was listening using silence and open-ended question!
Silence is gold, open-ended questions are diamonds.