Peak Your Profits: Questions and queries, solutions and strategies

Jeff Blackman

Questions and queries from readers.

Question: Jeff, what most influences employee satisfaction?

Answer:Although my clients have annual revenues from less than $1 million to billions, there are certain key "employee satisfiers" that are common and crucial to any size company. I urge my clients to provide their team with "RESULTS."

  • R- Reward: This is accomplished with compensation, recognition, awards and the acknowledgment of a job well done.
  • E-Environment: Give employees the best possible working environment. (Little things matter. On one client's "internal audit," their people continually complained about the need for a working ice machine. When this request was ignored, it was interpreted to mean, leadership simply didn't care.) Some companies are now offering their employees on-site doctors or nurses, concierges to conduct employees' personal errands, summer camps for workers' kids and believe it or not, nap tents for quick workday zzzzzs!
  • S-Support: Offer support to all employees. Support from fellow employees. Support from leaders. Provide mentors. Create a sense of community. Establish a culture of inclusion. People like to "belong."
  • U-Understanding: Listen. Pay attention to one's concerns and challenges.  Empathize. Ask questions. Seek others' knowledge and expertise. Ask their opinion. Value it. Let trust and honesty reign supreme.
  • L-Longevity: Offer opportunity. Advancement. A career track.
  • T-Trade off: Let people be valuable and productive contributors, in the office and at home! Promote balance. Victories shouldn't include forgotten families.
  • S-Satisfaction: Encourage achievement. Endorse risk-taking. Foster feelings of accomplishment. Help others realize their hopes, dreams and goals. Let people do, what they love to do. Help them use their strengths.

Question: Jeff, you always stress asking prospects and clients powerful probing questions. Why do you think it's so crucial to master this skill?

Answer: Now that's a great question! The benefits of asking questions are numerous. Here are eight:

Your customers, clients and prospects share feelings from their perspective.

  1. You gain valuable insights into your decision-makers as individuals.
  2. You understand their needs.
  3. If you say something, it's likely to be true. If your customers say something, it's "gospel!"
  4. When your clients speak, they may reveal a need, goal or problem you had not previously considered.
  5. The appropriate focus is on your customers' "presentation" of information, instead of your pitch, spiel or dog-and-pony-show.
  6. Your clients may think they're dominating the probe or interview process with their ideas. And that's fine. Yet with questions, you're in control!
  7. Customers and prospects value intelligent questions. It shows you're concerned about solving their problems and listening to their story. Which is far more important than your story.

I've actually had people tell me, "Hmmm, that's a very interesting question Jeff.  Nobody has ever asked that before."
The reason this is so beneficial, is that it positions me as unique. It also demonstrates I can help them and impact their business at a deeper and far more meaningful level.
By the way, when conducting an "interview" with a prospect or client by phone, I also keep a list of "power probes" next to my telephone. For pale ink is far more powerful, than a faded memory.


  • If you want to show people how smart you are, ask great questions.
  • If you want an immediate competitive differentiator, ask great questions.
  • If you want to exhibit your expertise, ask great questions.

Question: Jeff, when I'm interviewing, what are some unique or atypical questions to ask a potential new member of my team?

Answer: Who are your heroes? Why?

  • What book(s) are you currently reading?
  • What's your philosophy of i.e., selling, leadership, service, etc.?
  • What are your values?
  • Tell me about your biggest win or victory …
  • What has been your biggest defeat or mistake? What did you learn from it?
  • How did you bounce back?
  • What would you do with this opportunity, if you knew it was impossible to fail?

Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, contact Jeff at 847-998-0688 or And visit to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” (an Amazon Bestseller) and the revised 4th edition of the best-selling “Peak Your Profits.” You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults.