The Most Powerful One-Word Sales Question | Sales Strategies

My very favorite question in all of selling is simply, “Why?”

Why do I like it so much? There are a number of reasons. 


First, it’s short. I’ve determined over the 25 years that I’ve been selling that the shorter the question you ask, the longer the answer you get. And you can’t get much shorter than “why.”

Although I would encourage you to simply ask “why,” you could also expand on it and ask:

  • “Why do you do it that way?”
  • “Why do you say that?” 
  • “Why is it like that?”
  • “Why are you doing that?

Out of a Jam

The second reason I love the question “why?” is because it gets you out of a jam. Let’s be honest: we’ve all been in selling environments, but we don’t really understand what the prospect is saying—where the environment is unknown to us. Maybe it’s a type of customer we’ve never sold to before and they’re talking about products, acronyms, or business solutions that we’re a little confused about. Sometimes, just asking “why?” will force them to explain what they’re talking about, allowing us to rearrange the information in our brain. It buys us time.

Straight to the Issue

The third reason I love the question “why?” is because it really does get straight to the issue that the customer is trying to solve. It gets deeper one or two layers below the surface and encourages the customer to explain to us why they’re having those problems, what has been done to try to solve them, why they’re thinking of hiring you, or why they’re looking at a solution that you can offer. 

The question “why?” has massive amounts of value. Just get comfortable asking it in its simplest form and I absolutely guarantee it will yield you huge results.


3 responses to “The Most Powerful One-Word Sales Question | Sales Strategies

  1. […] closed, making eye contact, and letting them finish. Moreover, practice with another sales rep and ask them questions while being quiet for 3-5 seconds before they start to […]

  2. The conversion part of sales requires this WHY thing. Why with enthusiasm (quoting Shiv Khera of ‘You can Sell’), it does yield trust, inclination, understanding and ultimately a YES.

  3. […] often get bombarded with questions from overwhelmed salespeople and sales managers on how to manage their time effectively given everything they have to do in a […]

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