Maybe you’re on the phone with a prospect, perhaps you’re on an expert panel, or simply in a meeting.  You get a question, particularly one that you feel like you are prepared to answer, and without even thinking, you respond with “That’s a great question!”, and proceed with your answer.

On the surface, this approach sounds reasonable.  You’re providing positive feedback to the one who asked the question, setting the stage for your response.  But you can do better.

Here’s the problem:

As a descriptive adjective, the word ‘great’ has lost its meaning.

“That restaurant was great!”

“That movie was great!”

“I think you’re great!”

Whether you’re in a sales call, or a sales meeting when your prospect asks a question, it shows they are engaged, they are interested, and they are listening.

Instead of delivering empty calories with an adjective like ‘great,’ strive to come up with something genuinely descriptive that shows your prospect that you too are engaged, and listening.

Try these instead:

“That’s an insightful question.”

“That’s an essential question.”

“That question is thought-provoking.”

“That’s a significant question.”

By trading in ‘great‘ for an adjective that provides real feedback about the question, you are offering positive reinforcement while fostering a genuine connection with your prospect.  All of this leads to better and more meaningful conversations.

So ‘great‘ isn’t so great when responding to a question.  Try this simple technique next time you get a perceptive question to create more engagement and better conversations.