Deepen Your Relationships with Power Questions

BY: Daniel M. Savage

Successful relationship managers understand the importance of meaningful conversations with clients and prospects. Specifically, they understand the value of leading conversations with questions that demonstrate genuine curiosity and care.

Truly great relationship managers, however, take this to the next level by asking powerful questions. They understand how powerful questions can alter the course of their most precious relationships, and even their careers, by engaging clients and prospects in deeper thought processes. This is a simple, yet highly effective way to add value.

Andrew Sobel, author of Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others, says there are at least fifteen important uses of powerful questions. Here are those uses and examples of each.

  1. To focus the conversation. “From your perspective, what is the most important issue we should discuss today?”
  2. To understand their agenda and key goals. “What key goals will you be evaluated on at the end of this year?”
  3. To test for urgency. “Where do you position this initiative in relation to your other priorities?”
  4. To determine value. “What is the value of fixing this now?” “When fully realized, what do you estimate this opportunity is worth?”
  5. To enable self-diagnosis. “In determining compensation, are you more concerned with internal equity or market relevance?”
  6. To understand personal impact. “How will the outcome of this initiative impact you and your responsibilities?”
  7. To increase personal understanding. “You’ve achieved much. What else would you like to accomplish?”
  8. To gain commitment. “What options are you considering?” “In what direction are you leaning?” “What do you need to finalize your decision?”
  9. To identify desired behavior change. “As you reflect on how your team is dealing with this challenge, what might they do differently or better?”
  10. To broaden the canvas. “Tell me about some of the interdependencies within your company. How will the success of this initiative depend upon X, Y, or Z?”
  11. To reframe. “What other factors are contributing to this problem?” 
  12. To challenge. “I’m curious about how you decided upon 8% as your goal. Some of our clients have achieved 10-15%.”
  13. To tap into emotion or passion. “As you consider all of your initiatives, what are you personally most excited about?” “What do you see as your legacy?”
  14. To identify stakeholders. “Who are the key stakeholders here, and who will have a role in this?”
  15. To learn about relationship habits. “I’m curious, who have been your most trusted advisors or service providers, and how did they earn that position?”
Whether you are meeting with someone for the first time or touching base with your best customer, powerful questions will engage that individual in deeper thought processes, show that you put his or her interests first, and distinguish you from your competitors. 

Our Wealth Management team is ready is assist you in using powerful question to generate real results. To speak with one of our Wealth Managers today, please call (608) 826-3570 or email

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