From the time they’re able to talk, kids ask questions. Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? What are shadows made of? These types of questions may not actually advance the intended area of knowledge because—let’s get real—moms and dads don’t always know the answers! But learning is taking place anyway because kids eventually figure out which parent, grandparent, sibling, teacher or friend has the “best” answers to which subjects.
In other words, their questions teach them more than simply the answers they receive. By comparing the answers, they discover something other than the satisfaction of their curiosity. They learn to ask Dad where the scissors are while he’s watching a football game. They learn to ask Mom for forgiveness rather than permission when it comes to candy before dinner. They learn the questions that make people uncomfortable. Through questions, they’re essentially learning about relationships and trust.
Asking Questions in a Product Search
A typical product search may begin with the questions “What problem am I trying to solve?” and “What’s available to solve it?” Research on the traits of the solutions that catch our attention or which have been recommended to us may induce more questions. We ask about top features we’re in search of and for clarification on points we don’t understand, such as technical aspects of security protocols.
From there, we narrow our options to a short list based on what those vendors say about the product and what users may have shared about it. The problem is, we don’t know what we don’t know to ask.
The Comparison Factor
A strategy of questioning that gives you not only answers but also the proverbial “apples-to-apples” comparison provides more than technical information. Just like with kids, the exercise is essentially about relationships and trust. You get an opportunity to learn how different vendors skirt the issue or don’t have an answer or go above and beyond to help you. Even if you don’t understand all of the information you receive, comparing it all side by side to other vendors’ answers often reveals more than any individual vendor intended.
Understanding What’s Possible
It’s not unusual for organizations to choose a product strictly based on the feature that will solve their top pain points, only to find it doesn’t solve other tasks they expected.
They want robust and easy, the latest but also tried-and-true, or the most features but at the lowest price, failing to realize that these are sliding scales of trade-offs for all solutions. They want a bottom-line price they can budget around without an understanding of the total cost of ownership — those hidden costs of inefficiency, error, or risk.
And we all want that mythical silver bullet.
The Right Questions
If you’re currently comparing recreation or membership management software, wouldn’t it be great to know the right questions to ask to help you make the best decision for your organization’s needs?
Now you can!
Click the link or image above to access the webinar recording, where you’ll hear from the City of Arlington’s Business Services Manager, Amber Dembroski.
Or download our 9 Questions to Ask Recreation Management Providers white paper.
See you there!