In this edition, we’re applying our ‘7 Levels Deep’ questioning technique to a specific example. Let’s imagine a client who aims to earn $500,000 in net profit. Through our probing, we reveal the profound personal reasons behind this financial target.

  1. First Level Question: Why is making $500,000 in net profits important to you? Answer: It would significantly strengthen the financial stability of my business.
  2. Second Level Question: Why is strengthening your business’s financial stability important? Answer: With more financial stability, I can afford to invest in better resources and reduce my own stress about cash flow.
  3. Third Level Question: Why is reducing your stress about cash flow important? Answer: Less stress would allow me more free time and peace of mind.
  4. Fourth Level Question: Why is having more free time and peace of mind important to you? Answer: It would give me the opportunity to spend more quality time with my family, particularly my son.
  5. Fifth Level Question: Why is spending more quality time with your son so important? Answer: I want to create lasting memories with him, like going fishing on a boat, which is something my father did with me.
  6. Sixth Level Question: Why is creating those specific memories with your son so important? Answer: Those fishing trips with my dad were the best times we had together; they made me feel close to him. I want to share that bond with my son.
  7. Seventh Level Question: Why is recreating that bond you had with your father important in your relationship with your son? Answer: Since my father passed away, I’ve missed that strength and support he gave me. Those moments on the lake were precious. With the current business stress and tight cash flow, I long to reconnect with that feeling of support and pass it on to my son. Owning a small boat for fishing trips would be a way to honor my father’s memory and strengthen my bond with my son amidst these challenges.

In this case, the client’s goal of earning $500,000 in net profit is deeply rooted in a desire to recreate cherished memories with his father and to forge a similar bond with his own son. It’s not just about financial gain but about capturing a sense of connection and legacy that transcends the immediate pressures of business. This profound understanding can powerfully motivate the client, providing clarity and purpose in their business strategy and personal life.

But Let’s go deeper:

Mentor Question:       “So dear Mr. Client, I want to really understand what it is you really want to achieve here. Do you mind if we try and establish your Wants?”

Client Answer:             “No, we can do that.”

Mentor Question:       “So you have told me that you want to make $500,000 in net profits, and the past couple of years you have been just about at a break even. Tell me, Mr. Client, why do you want to make this money in your Net Profits?”

Client Answer:             “Because I have not been making the right amount of money that past few years?”

Mentor Question:       “Why would that be important to you?”

Client Answer:             “Because I really feel I didn’t have the money that I wanted to have.”

Mentor Question:       “What would you do with the money?”

Client Answer:             “I really want to get that new truck.”

Mentor Question:       “What else would you do with the money?”

Client Answer:             “I also want to get a Harley. I used to have one, but I sold it back a few years ago when I needed some extra cash. I used to do these small Sunday rides with a couple of buddies of mine. It was great.”

Mentor Question:       “OK, what else?”

Client Answer:            “I would love this nice Boston Whaler boat. It’s beautiful. They are incredibly well-designed hulls. They’re predictable, stable, dry, and can be operated safely in lots of different conditions. They’re reasonably good in a head sea, and amazing in a following sea. They are heavy for their size, which also provides some benefits in terms of how they handle. They are unsinkable, which I, personally, like. They are “yacht quality” in terms of the fit and finish, wiring, and hardware. They’re also very durable. I have eyed this 42’ one. I really want that one.”

Mentor Question:       “Nice. What else?”

Client Answer:            “Well, I also want to give my wife a new car. Her car is getting a bit old and has a few dents here and there.”

Mentor Question:       “Good. Anything else?”

Client Answer:             “No, I think that’s it. That would make me really happy and satisfied.”

Mentor Question:       “Great. So how committed would you say you are to make this happen? Let’s say from a scale of 1 through 10, 10 being the absolutely committed.”

Client Answer:             “Oh, I’m super committed. I’m like at 15!!”

Mentor Question:       “Awesome. Now, you have a brother and also a son here in the business too, correct?”

Client Answer:             “Yes, that’s right.”

Mentor Question:       “If it came down to it, would you be willing to have to let your brother go, so you could have the Harley?”

Client Answer:             “No, I couldn’t do that.”

Mentor Question:       “OK, so is it safe to say then, that the Harley would be nice to have, but it is not really a Must Have?”

Client Answer:             “Yes, I guess so.”

Mentor Question:       “OK, so can I take it off the list of your Wants?”

Client Answer:             “(hesitantly) Yeah, I guess so.”

Mentor Question:       “Now, how much would that Harley have cost you?”

Client Answer:             “Well, the one I had in mind runs at about $35,000.”

Mentor Question:       “OK, so is it fair to say that our goal really is $500,000 extra in net profits less the $35,000, so we are down to seeking an addition net profit of $465,000?”

Client Answer:             “I guess that’s right.”

Mentor Question:       “What about your truck? How important is it for you to change that out at this point? Important enough to let your brother go?”

Client Answer:             “No, I could wait with a new truck.”

Mentor Question:       “Yes, probably. Now, your new truck, how much would that have been? About $50,000?”

Client Answer:             “Yeah that’s about right.”

Mentor Question:       “And your current one, let’s say you would get about $12,000 in trade in value, so we are talking about $38,000, would you say that’s about right?”

Client Answer:             “Yes, sounds right.”

Mentor Question:       “So, the $465,000 less the $38,000 if we take the truck off your list of Wants, and we are about $427,000, do you agree?”

Client Answer:             “Agreed.”

Mentor Question:       “So how committed are you to make $500,000 in net profits this year?”

Client Answer:             “Arghh, OK, let’s say I’m at 8!”

Mentor Question:       “OK, so fairly committed. That’s good. Now, what about the boat you mentioned? Can we take that off the list of Wants?”         

Client Answer:            “No, absolutely not! I’m fully committed to get that, if you can help me get there.”

Mentor Question:       “Great, so you’re at a 10 for that?”

Client Answer:             “Absolutely!!”

Mentor Question:       “Ok. Now, the Boston Whaler they do come in different sizes, right?”

Client Answer:             “That’s right.”

Mentor Question:       “So, do you think you could accept a smaller size and that would do the job?”

Client Answer:            “Oh, I see where you’re going with this. Yes, suppose I could go with a smaller one. I just want one for me and my son to be able to go fishing.”

Mentor Question:       “And I suspect, you could get a slightly used one, and save some money too, right?”

Client Answer:             “Yeah I could do that.”

Mentor Question:       “Well, could we take the boat out of the equation altogether? Isn’t it just a nice to have thing?”

Client Answer:             “No, I must have that for my son and me to go fishing on the lake.”

Mentor Question:       “What about the car for your wife?”

Client Answer:            “No, I really do need to do something about that. It breaks down too many times already, and I don’t think she would be OK about me getting the boat, before I take care of her car.”

Mentor Question:       “I understand that. That makes sense. So, what’s the number that you would say, you absolutely must have in Net Profits to make you satisfied with this year?”

Client Answer:             “I need $350,000 minimum!!”

Mentor Question:       “OK, so you are committed to that number at all cost?”

Client Answer:             “Yes!!”

Mentor Question:       “What if we did $250,000, can we do that?”

Client Answer:             “No, we HAVE to get the $350,000!”

Mentor Question:       “Why is this number so important? What if the number was reduced by, let’s say the boat. If it’s a smaller boat, and slightly used, it may not be a lot of money we are talking about.”

The Revelation

It was in the earnestness of this commitment that the true essence of Mr. Client’s motivation unfolded. The conversation took a poignant turn as he shared his health challenges with cancer and the urgency to secure his family’s future and ensure he would leave some lasting positive memories with his son.

Client:                         “I need to make sure that I get my affairs in order to secure my family, in case… And I must make some good memories with my son, cause I missed out on so much time when he was little as I was working all the time on the business.”

This revelation highlighted the profound personal dimensions often hidden beneath our professional goals. Mr. Client’s determination to achieve $350,000 in net profits was not just a financial target; it was a mission to ensure security and peace of mind for his loved ones, a commitment that outweighed the allure of material possessions and stood as a testament to his resilience and dedication.

With the recent discussions and revelations, we’ve reached a pivotal moment in our client-mentor relationship. The depth of our dialogue has led to a profound understanding of Mr. Client’s true motivations, crystallizing into a solid commitment towards a specific, minimum goal.

This commitment, rooted in the personal and poignant revelations about Mr. Client’s health and his deep concern for his family’s future, transcends mere business targets. It’s a commitment that carries the weight of personal responsibility and the urgency of time. Our shared journey has moved beyond the realm of financial gain and into the sphere of life’s true priorities.

With a minimum goal of $350,000 in net profits firmly established, our path forward is clear and focused. This is not just a number; it’s a beacon of hope and security for Mr. Client and his family. Our strategy sessions will now be driven by this commitment, every decision and action tailored to ensure we meet or exceed this crucial target.

What we have established is a partnership based on trust and mutual understanding. As a mentor, the responsibility is not only to guide Mr. Client towards this financial goal but also to support him in navigating the challenges that come with his personal situation. This goal is a promise, a commitment that we both hold sacred – a testament to the trust and confidence placed in this relationship.

Going forward, every step we take will be a stride towards achieving this goal. The commitment we have solidified is not just about numbers on a spreadsheet; it’s about fulfilling a promise, about delivering peace of mind and security. It’s a journey we embark on together, with a shared vision and unwavering resolve.

The Exercise for You

As readers and business professionals, harnessing the power of deep questioning can be a transformative tool for self-discovery and achieving success. By applying the techniques of probing questions to yourselves, you can uncover what you are genuinely willing to fight for and make happen in your professional and personal lives.

  1. Start with Your Goal: Begin by identifying a clear goal or aspiration. It could be anything from increasing business profits to achieving a better work-life balance.

  1. The First Why: Ask yourself why this goal is important to you. This initial response will typically be surface-level, but it sets the foundation for deeper exploration.

  1. Dig Deeper with Each Why: Continue to ask ‘why’ in response to each previous answer. Each question should delve deeper into your motivations and reasons. For instance, if your goal is to increase business profits by 20%, your first ‘why’ might reveal a desire for financial stability. The next ‘why’ might uncover a need to provide for your family or to feel more successful and competent in your role.

  1. Seek Emotional Connection: Aim to reach the emotional core behind your goal. Often, our most powerful drivers are connected to deeply held values, experiences, or aspirations.

  1. Confront the Hard Truths: Be prepared to encounter and accept difficult truths about yourself and your motivations. Honesty is crucial in this process.

  1. Recognize Your True Commitment: By the seventh level (or beyond), you should reach a point where your true commitment lies. This is often something you feel passionately about and are willing to work tirelessly towards.

  1. Evaluate Your Willingness: Assess your willingness to sacrifice or adjust other aspects of your life or business to achieve this goal. This step is critical in understanding how committed you are.

  1. Reflect on Resilience and Perseverance: Consider how this newfound understanding of your commitment will fuel your resilience and perseverance. When challenges arise, remembering your core ‘why’ can be a powerful motivator to keep pushing forward.

  1. Apply to Decision-Making: Use this insight to inform your decision-making process. When faced with a choice, ask yourself which option aligns best with your deep-seated motivations and commitments.

  1. Set Actionable Steps: Finally, translate this commitment into actionable steps. Break down your goal into smaller, manageable tasks that align with your deep motivation.

By employing this technique on yourselves, you not only gain clarity on your true aspirations but also empower yourselves with a reinforced commitment. This clarity and commitment are crucial ingredients in the recipe for success. The stronger your emotional and rational attachment to a goal, the greater your chances of overcoming obstacles and achieving what you set out to do. Remember, success isn’t just about setting goals; it’s about understanding why those goals matter profoundly to you.

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