By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training


In sales we need to be a detective, a journalist and even a reporter.

In sales we need to FIND OUT ‘who does it.’ Not who did it. Who makes the decisions.

And one of the best ways, most sales people know, is to ask questions. But how many sales folks know how to ask GREAT questions. Pointed questions. Questions that get the answers to what YOU need to make the sale.

We use the ‘Columbo Technique’ because it so often works. However, he also had GREAT questions for his ‘prospect’ as many of you will recall if you watched the series. 

His last one was the best. It was what I call “the GOTCHA question.” The one where we know he wrapped up the ‘sale.’ The perp was caught.

How many of you know how to use a GOTCHA question? And how often do you use it?

It’s that last question, right before we hang up or leave the clients office. It’s the one that can get you to ‘stay’ and talk more. It’s the one that gets you the sale.

And just as important as the GOTCHA question is the ability to keep on asking questions without sounding like you have a list of questions on a sheet of paper. (Which is OK to have, but not to sound like.)

If you’ll equate your sales position to being a detective, reporter, or a journalist you’ll be surprised how many things you will uncover.

FACT: Most sales folks simply don’t ask enough questions. Many are ‘accepters.’ They nod, agree and go along. Trying to YES the client. 

The detective, the reporter, the journalist usually can find ONE MORE question. Be it, “Gee, why is that?” or even “Sounds interesting, fill me in” and so on. And the best of all, “hmmm… curious, why is that?” and variations.

Granted it’s not easy to ask those pointed questions. But they are asked when it comes to being a detective, reporter or journalist. WHY: Because it’s necessary.

If you’re watching Netflix’s Making a Murderer, you can see the detectives with Steven Avery go at him with their questions.. And while he hasn’t admitted anything – yet (NO SPOILER MESSAGE HERE) the line of questions were deep, hard and determined.

Be a detective…be a reporter…be a journalist. ASK MORE QUESTIONS. Then ask more.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.