One of the biggest challenges B2B market research companies like Blue Donkey have to overcome is getting a person talking. Once the conversation has started, it’s easy to get the message across, develop a rapport, and generate flowing answers. The right questions asked in the right way will paint interesting and insightful pictures of your respondent and their business.
Open questions used by B2B market research companies
B2B market research companies put a lot of emphasis on asking questions. The open question is one of the main methods used to get people talking. Generally speaking, the better the question, the greater the depth and breadth of answers will be. Open questions usually begin with words such as what, when, why, how, or where. However, that’s only a rule of thumb. It’s not always the case that open questions begin with keywords. Standard open questions can’t always be relied upon to give you full and detailed answers all the time.
…. not quite open questions
Where questions ask broadly about a particular thing, the response will be broad and hopefully a little longer than a specific question. For example, questions that begin with ‘can you tell me more about’ are likely to have expansive, detailed answers. Technically speaking, these are not open questions as they can be answered with a simple yes or no. So strictly speaking, the question ‘can you tell me more about’ could be met with the answer ‘no I can’t’. Fortunately, that’s not a common scenario because B2B market research companies are trained to warm a call and build rapport before using such questioning techniques.
Closed questions are good for determining that certain criteria have been met. B2B market research companies will use them for checking someone’s role and responsibilities before asking for participation in a survey. Closed questions are also a great way of confirming what a respondent meant in their answer to an open question.
According to Kwiksurveys “Closed ended questions are those that start with ‘can’, ‘did’, ‘will’ or ‘have’. Most commonly, they take the form of multiple-choice questions, where respondents choose from a set list of answers. You would use closed ended questions to collect quantitative data. From which you’d determine some ‘statistical significance’. They’re usually simpler than their open ended counterparts, allowing respondents to quickly answer”.
The broken question
Infuriatingly, sometimes a question can just stop working. The tone, manner, resonance of the question just changes. So, it has to be resketched in a way that continues to build answers. Reviewing call recordings, trainers on tap, and robust quality management systems help B2B market research companies get consistency from research.
At Blue Donkey we find having several people working on a project together helps alleviate the risk of the broken question. This also helps retain momentum, since market research should happen in a short timeframe to provide a reliable snapshot. A piece of work that takes months to complete will be subject to changing conditions.
Noise can be better than a word
B2B market research companies like Blue Donkey, are specialists at using certain key skills or messaging to get people talking. But sometimes the best words are not words at all. Listening skills are vital for demonstrating that a respondent’s answers are important to us. But how do you show someone you’re listening? Using noises that are often universal help, such as ‘A-ha’ meaning, I understand. Or ‘Oh’ meaning I see or tell me more.