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Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others

ISBN: 978-1-118-11963-1
224 pages
February 2012
Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others (1118119630) cover image
An arsenal of powerful questions that will transform every conversation

Skillfully redefine problems. Make an immediate connection with anyone. Rapidly determine if a client is ready to buy. Access the deepest dreams of others. Power Questions sets out a series of strategic questions that will help you win new business and dramatically deepen your professional and personal relationships. The book showcases thirty-five riveting, real conversations with CEOs, billionaires, clients, colleagues, and friends. Each story illustrates the extraordinary power and impact of a thought-provoking, incisive power question. To help readers navigate a variety of professional challenges, over 200 additional, thought-provoking questions are also summarized at the end of the book.

In Power Questions you’ll discover:

  • The question that stopped an angry executive in his tracks
  • The sales question CEOs expect you to ask versus the questions they want you to ask
  • The question that will radically refocus any meeting
  • The penetrating question that can transform a friend or colleague’s life
  • A simple question that helped restore a marriage

When you use power questions, you magnify your professional and personal influence, create intimate connections with others, and drive to the true heart of the issue every time.

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The Power Questions 1

1. Good Questions Trump Easy Answers 3

2. If You Don’tWant to Hit Bottom, Stop Digging the Hole 7

3. The FourWords 13

4. When the Sale Is Stuck 17

5. Mission Isn’t Important. It’s Everything 23

6. Get Out of Your Cave 27

7. Begin at the Beginning 33

8. Start Over 39

9. You Can Overcome Anything If You Understand Why 43

10. In a Hushed Moment 47

11. Is This the Best You Can Do? 53

12. No Gorilla Dust 59

13. Bury the Cliches 63

14. Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Dreams 69

15. Silence Can Be the Best Answer 73

16. The Greatest Teacher 77

17. Push Open the Flood Gate 83

18. The Essence of Your Job 87

19. ATempest-Tossed Topic 91

20. The Road Taken 97

21. Who Do You Say I Am? 103

22. That Special Moment in Life 109

23. Your Plans or Their Plans? 115

24. Never Look Back Unless You Plan to Live ThatWay 121

25. How to Stop the Snorting 127

26. Dig Deeper. Deeper. Still Deeper 131

27. Always Faithful 135

28. I Used to Be Indecisive—But Now I’m Not Sure 141

29. Blah Blah Blah 145

30. Why Is This Day Different? 149

31. Never Too Late 153

32. Take Stock of Your Life 159

33. The Heart of the Matter 165

34. Capture the Moments 169

35. The Awe andWonder of the Power Question 175

Not Just for Sunday 181

293 More Power Questions 183

About the Authors 203

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Andrew Sobel is the leading authority on client relationships and the skills and strategies required to earn enduring client loyalty. His books include the award-winning All for One (Wiley) and the bestselling Clients for Life. He has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, and USA Today. Andrew helps companies and individuals build their clients for life. Visit www.AndrewSobel.com.

Jerold Panas is the world's leading consultant in philanthropy and the CEO of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners, the largest consulting firm in the world for advising nonprofit organizations and foundations on fundraising. Jerry is the author of thirteen bestselling books, including Asking and Mega Gifts. He works directly with CEOs, boards, and development professionals around the world. Visit www.JeroldPanas.com.

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“A powerful question can turn a tepid conversation into a revealing encounter, as demonstrated by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas in their engaging new book, Power Questions...first-rate and very helpful.”—The Globe and Mail

“Power Questions...is already my favorite, keep-it-close-at-hand business book. I read the book in a single sitting and within 24 hours landed a speaking engagement by asking a few of the “337 Essential Questions” that Sobel and Panas have carefully matched to 35 common business-related situations.”—Forbes.com

“Forget trying to be brilliant or clever on your feet to sell a prospect. Power questions will refocus meetings, stop people in their tracks and help you win new business.”—American Express.com, “Top 10 Business Books for the Summer”

“An inspirational read...strongly recommended”—Midwest Library Journal

The greatest gift you can give someone is to ask what he or she thinks, and truly listen to the answer. Sobel and Panas turn this powerful idea into practical, compelling advice by asking questions that reveal surprising, often life-changing, answers.—Ralph W. Shrader, Chairman and CEO, Booz Allen Hamilton

This book is amazing. It packs a wallop. It gets you inside the mind and heart of a person.  I strongly recommend it.—John Schlifske, Chairman and CEO, Northwestern Mutual

Power Questions is easy to pick up, but hard to put down. Andrew and Jerry give a veritable playbook for building stronger relationships. Whether you read it cover-to-cover or just open a page to prepare for a new meeting, it’s a valuable resource no matter where you are in your career.—Frank D'Souza, CEO, Cognizant

Read this remarkable book and keep it handy, because these questions have the power to enrich every segment of your life.—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and Leading at a Higher Level

Reading Power Questions is like listening in to the most amazing array of private conversations with CEOs, politicians, religious authorities, and entrepreneurs. A joyous read.—David Sable, Global CEO, Young & Rubicam

Andrew Sobel and Jerry Panas have developed the thought-provoking thesis in their book of the importance of asking questions to tailor advice and build relationships. Their work is illustrated with plenty of examples, and their premise becomes more convincing page by page.—Sir Winfried Bischoff, Chairman, Lloyds Banking Group

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February 02, 2012
Ask, Don't Tell: Nine Ways Power Questions Help Us Build Better Business Relationships

Just a few years ago, globalization was in full swing, and the world seemed to be bursting with an infinite supply of business. All this bounty lulled us into taking our customers for granted, maintains Andrew Sobel—until the economy tanked and shattered the illusion of endless prosperity. Suddenly, the old-fashioned “trusted relationship” started to look good again.

“In this post-Madoff era of unpredictability and suspicion, people are looking for deeper, more intimate, and more engaged relationships—the kind that reduce risk,” says Sobel, author (along with coauthor, Jerold Panas) of Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others (Wiley, February 2012, ISBN: 978-11181196-3-1, $22.95) and three other books on long-term business relationships.

“This is true of customers but also vendors, employees, and other business partners,” he adds. “The days of getting in, making money, and moving on to the next guy are over. When times are tough and the future is uncertain, people want to put down roots and partner with people they truly like and trust.”

Bottom line: In today’s markets, the most valuable commodity is the ability to connect with others and rapidly build trust. And that begins by asking the right questions.

“Asking questions and letting people come up with their own answers is far more effective than spouting facts or trying to talk someone into something,” Sobel explains. “Telling creates resistance. Asking creates relationships.” In his book Sobel explores dozens of questions that light fires under people, challenge their assumptions, help them see problems in productive new ways, and inspire them to bare their souls (which, of course, strengthens the bonds in the relationship).

Refer to the Addional Materials tab to read on!

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