Why? When was the Last Time you Asked a Customer That Question?

For some reason, we like to think that those of us in sales are brilliant people and have all the answers.

It’s time we take off the sales cape and get real with our customers.  One of the best questions I’ve ever asked a customer is “why?”

When was the last time you used that question?

Our goal in sales is to help customers, but it’s impossible for us to help customers if they don’t tell us what they need help with.

Many times the customer will share with us something, but because we think we’re so smart, we don’t have to pay attention to what it is they’re telling us.

No wonder so many people have a bad perception of salespeople.

“Why” is a great word to use. It’s short and direct and best of all it’s not hard for a customer to understand what you’re asking.

Too many salespeople have a habit of asking questions that are so complex that nobody can figure them out.  This is what makes the word “why” such a great word to use.

Set yourself a goal of asking each customer you talk to “why” one time after they have shared something with you. You will find that as you become more comfortable with how you match your tone of voice, body language and overall personality to the question, the responses you receive will blow you away.

Customers love to talk if they feel the person they’re talking to is listening and really cares. 

If our goal is to help customers, and we know we can’t help a customer until they tell us what it is they need from us, then asking “why” makes sense.

One final thought. Asking “why” is definitely one of the most brilliant questions you can ask, but do remember that as good as it is, you can’t use it 10 times with the same person. You’ll sound like a 2-year-old.

Ask the question once on every sales call and maybe twice if the setting is right, but no more.

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.




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3 thoughts on “Why? When was the Last Time you Asked a Customer That Question?”

  1. Mark,

    Great post. The “Why” question as a sales tactic may not be the best vs. let’s say, the “how” (reference to Brian’s comment above) However, from a macro perspective, understanding the prospect’s “why” and even the company’s “why” is important to position messaging. Etc.

    Two links I want to share. One is the Ted Talk on “Why” Very powerful and worth watching. http://youtu.be/qp0HIF3SfI4

    Secondly, to better understand the prospect’s “Why,” you’ve got to know your value in the conversation. Here are a few ways to do that: http://salesloft.com/3-ways-to-know-your-value/

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