Open and Closed Questions

How do you keep the conversation going with your guests?

We’ve all experienced that painful moment when we feel the connection breaking because there is nothing more to be said, and we end with a lame ‘Well, have fun!’

A Host reached out to me on Linked In for ideas on how to converse with a stranger, or even a regular that you see every day!

For me, the key to success is to avoid Closed questions.

What is a Closed Question? There is a limit to the answers to a closed question. It is a question that ‘closes off’ the conversation.

Here are some examples of closed questions on the Casino Floor:

• Are you having fun?
• Are you feeling lucky today?
• Did you try the new high limit slots?
• Did you see the promotion of the car?
• Are you going to the concert tonight?

These questions close off the conversation because the guest will answer with just one word: Yes or No.

If they say Yes, then you say Great! (and you’ve learned nothing about them). If they say No, then you ask Why? (and hear them complain). It’s such a boring pattern of conversation and it always leads to a negative conversation around the No answers.

By comparison, there are no limits to the answers to an open question. It is a question that ‘opens up’ the conversation and ‘opens up’ more insight into what the guest is thinking and feeling.

Here are some examples of open questions:

• How are you today?
• What’s happening with you?
• What did you think of the new high limit slots?
• What did you think of that BMW?
• The Beatle Tribute is tonight. What’s your favorite kind of music?

It is impossible for a guest to answer these open questions with Yes or No. It would make no sense whatsoever. They are going to have to reply with a little more information that you can use to ask your next open question.

Let’s try this open approach…

“What did you think of that BMW?”
“What a beautiful car. I hope I win it”

What do you say or ask next? If you say, “I hope so too!” then you just finished the conversation with a closing statement. The closing statement is your last sentence as you get ready to walk away with a smile a wave. So, closing statements definitely have their role to play, in helping you to move along to the next guest.

Let’s take this open approach even further:

“What did you think of that BMW?”
“What a beautiful car. I hope I win it”
“I hope you do too! Where are you going to keep it?”
“Ha ha. I will keep it in the garage and hide the keys from the grandkids”. (Now you know something about them!)

You can follow up with: “What grandchildren do you have?” (And that open question is sure to get an answer! Everyone wants to list their grandchildren.)

As you walk around on Property today, pay attention to your typical questions and responses, and see if you can score 100% on starting with an open question!

(A new Host might so frequently use closed questions and statements that, although they are touching base with a lot of guests, they are not having any meaningful conversations at all, and certainly not building relationships. The guests soon decide that the Host is just going through the motions and is not at all interested in them.)

Once you practice this approach enough, it will become a habit. And a very useful habit when you are on the phone because a successful phone call relies entirely on the structure and flow of the conversation.

Here is a useless phone call!

“Is this Mary?” Yes.
“Did you see your offer for the concert?” Yes.
“Will you be joining us for this exciting show?” No.

The guest could answer those closed questions without taking their attention away from their ipad!

‘Hello, Mary? This is Jackie.”
“Oh, Hi Jackie.”
“We have a great show coming next week, a Beatle tribute. Who was your favorite Beatle?”
“Paul, I guess.”
“Well, the guy who plays Paul is great. He looks just like him. We have a few tickets left for you that are really close to the front”.
(And then go quiet to see what they say… Open a silence and see what they come up with!)

Of course, because this is a sales call, you cannot chat all day and you eventually have to offer the closing question! E.g. “Can I book you two tickets?” It is a closing question because you want them to say Yes or No, so you can move on to your next call.

There’s nothing wrong with Closed Questions… it’s just that you, as a Masterful Communicator, need to be conscious about when you are using the open and closed approach.

Now you and I have to finish this conversation as well, and get back to our other tasks. I have a couple of choices. Which is the open question, the closed question, and the closing statement?

Do you want to buy my book the Strategic Host? Click here!
Who else might want to look at playerdevelopment.casino?
Thanks for reading!

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