057: Look Like a Genius By Asking These Questions

Aug 25, 2023

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057: Look Like a Genius By Asking These Questions

Aug 25, 2023

Read time: 2:31 minutes  

I see too many fractional CFOs putting undue pressure on themselves. 

Somehow we've convinced ourselves that as fractional CFOs we have to know ALL THE ANSWERS.

We tell ourselves that we should be able to diagnose and solve every problem our clients face: 

• What to do about increasing shipping costs
• Which vendors are charging too much
• Which employees are over paid
• Why churn is so high
• What to do about shrinking ROAS
• How to improve cash conversion cycle 
• What to do tomorrow about high material lead times

The reality is that we will NEVER know our clients' businesses as well as they do. 

We have to stop putting pressure on ourselves to be all-knowing!

But if we can't expect ourselves to know all the answers, how can we add value as a fractional CFO?

Instead of trying to produce all the answers...
Add value by asking your clients smarter questions!

In other words:
✅ You ask insightful questions 
✅ And leverage your clients' knowledge 
✅ To help guide them to financial success! 

I have found the "ask smart questions" technique to be a super tool in 3 specific situations:
1️⃣ Sales calls
2️⃣ When I don't know the answer
3️⃣ When I don't have anything specific to cover on a CFO call

The questions you should ask should be driven based on the context of the situation and the problems you're trying to solve.

If you find yourself stuck and can't think of any questions, here's a list of 10 of my favorites:

What keeps you up at night?

What’s your biggest problem right now?

What is your biggest roadblock to growth?

What happened the last time you raised prices?

Pretend you must reduce staff by three tomorrow. 
Who do you let go?

Pretend you have to fire everyone but three people. 
Who do you keep?

What's one thing you've known you need to do for at least 6 months - but you haven't started yet? 

Which vendor do you work with that's over charging you or isn't delivering enough value?

If you were fired as the CEO of your company tomorrow, what's the first thing your replacement would START doing?

If you were fired as the CEO of your company tomorrow, what's the first thing your replacement would STOP doing?

(Credit goes to Michael Girdley for some of these great prompts!)

Your clients don't expect you to know everything.
But they are counting on you to help guide them to their goals.

When you don't know the answer, lean into the power of asking smart questions. See what answers your clients come up with. 

You'll both be amazed.

Your coach,

Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Join us at The CFO Accelerator Live in Dallas, TX from May 15-17. 2024 and learn how to get more clients, increase your pricing, and close more sales! Get your ticket here.
  2. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of over 200 Fractional CFOs.
  3. If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out The CFO Report.

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