Why Ask Why—To Discover What Customers Really Need, That’s Why

Asking your customers “why” is a basic psychological “trick” that’ll help you uncover the root causes of what is driving your prospects’ needs and craft, as John Doerr puts it, “compelling, powerful, and lasting solutions” for your salespeople.

Looking at John’s example may make you think that using The 5 Whys will be nothing more than an annoyance to your customers, but it can be effective if you keep these points in mind:

  1. Get Agreement On The Desired Outcome: If you cannot reach an unambiguous agreement on the New Reality you are trying to create, you won’t truly connect.
  2. Involve The Right Team: When the answers to your questions start pouring in, you’ll need resources at hand. For instance, if a technical question arises, make sure you have your tech experts (and theirs) available to discover the perceived needs.
  3. Employ Good Logic: “Don’t make specious cause/effect conclusions,” John writes. Make one mistake and you can find yourself headed in the wrong direction.
  4. Allow Leeway To People As They Try To Answer: Asking “why” can unearth a number of possible root causes. Stop and listen—take care not to shoot early ideas down.
  5. Realize You Might Need A Bigger Process To Uncover The Root: It’s not always cut and dry; sometimes you need to perform an in-depth analysis so you can understand what’s really going on.

Sales managers should arm themselves with this basic tool. Be sure to catch the full story over at Eyes on Sales.

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