How to Ask Great Questions by Thinking Like a Competitive Intelligence Professional

How to Ask Great Questions by Thinking Like a Competitive Intelligence Professional

This article is called how to ask great questions by thinking like a Competitive Intelligence professional.

Interesting things happen every time you ask a question. Especially a one Google will struggle with. 

A question you don’t know the answer to. It can make us feel uncomfortable as it shows us a knowledge gap. Confirming all along what we know deep down that we may not be as clever as we think we are. However, not knowing an answer can be exciting for other people. A start a journey of discovery.

If you fear not knowing. Or enjoy the feeling of looking for the answer; there will be a strong desire to answer the question. To find the answer to the question.

But answering the question too quickly threatens the possibility of more profound insight. Or a different view on the situation faced. 

Try and be in a place where there is no rush to take action. To keep looking for the answer even when you think you have found it. 

But of course, to get real answers, you need to have great questions. And yes, the right question.

Are you answering the right question?

Better questions are paramount in unlocking opportunity and making an impact. Start with asking questions like:

Start with why

The correct use of “why” questions is compelling. Asking the why question more than five times helps you dig deeper into what’s going on. To pull more detail out of any situation. 

There are a few other iterations of’ why’ questions that marketers could find value in:

  • Asking why are we doing this helps you uncover extrinsic and your intrinsic motivations behind any action. If you get honest answers, it may reveal office politics are getting in the way of results.
  • Why are we here today? An excellent question to assess your priorities. And ensure an aligned team around the same objective before moving forward. The question has a deeper meaning too. Asking why is our business here today and doing what you do could also be revealing.
  • Why’s that important now? Is a question to accept marketplace, customer or competitor changes you may have to deal with. 
  • Asking,’ why not?’ This question can also unleash your imagination. Permits you to experiment and uncover barriers and risk to address. Before they disrupt your plans. That’s a lousy disruption, not the beard and beany hat positive disruption. 
  • Just asking, “why’s that?” Asked after coming out with a statement or a conclusion will allow you to think some more. And the more time you think, the more chance you have of finding the correct answer. Try using “why’s that” a few times beyond the first answer will reveal great insight. Or it may show you that your question was not good enough. 

Why don’t you speak to your customers more? Talking to them allows you to build great relationships. And the opportunity to do accurate, valuable and often ignored customer research. Consumer behaviour, lifestyles, and technology change all the time. And it’s up to you (or your competitors) to see it early. Build up a relationship with them so you can comfortably ask customers what you want. 

So what

Assess the power of the answer to any question, theory or analysis by asking so what. Now you may feel a bit uncomfortable doing it, but it can reveal some interesting answers and insight. 

Ask what impact the answer to the question is going to have by asking so what. One of your team comes up with a theory based on the answers. Retort with So what. Not to annoy them. But to drill the answer down to its essential aspects. By removing fluff and indirection. To give your answers an impact. 

The so-what question forces you to articulate what you’re trying to explain. And offers you the opportunity to reword an answer to get to the raw bones of the answer. Simply, it makes you think even more. 

What should you do differently?

Assess what you would do differently if you had to start again. Then what can you do differently now to beat your competitors? What bad habits have you got into? Are you in the right market sector? What has become routine and is bad for your business? Assess what you should do differently. To become a challenger brand to disrupt your industry. Find your customer pain points. Identify sector frustrations by asking them questions. Finding the patterns and themes and a different view on the world that no one else is looking at. Asking good questions that challenge them will help you find solutions. Solutions to solve their pain and frustration 

What are you not going to do?

Opportunities are everywhere, and most of them are false flags or dead ends. And you can only ever do one thing at once. And you only have so much money and time to spend on new stuff. There is much pressure not to miss out on something. But you can’t be good at everything. So do one or two things well. Gain insight and certainty by asking what are you not going to do

Answers will be easier to find with artificial intelligence and machine learning. However, if you ask these machines the wrong questions, you will not get the answers you are looking for. Even then, they are not going to replace how we answer deep questions. And there is an argument that we would not want machines to do that anyway. A good question needs to defined and created by you. Not by a machine or, worse, the programmer of that machine. 

How to ask great questions by thinking like a Competitive Intelligence professional

This article asked how to ask great questions by thinking like a Competitive Intelligence professional. Answering great questions can transform how you think. It gives you the freedom to think. So today, rather than trying to keep up with the world, let’s ask better questions.

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