Lose the Word “Why” in B2B Questions

This is a bonus b2b sales tip today. A fatal flaw in the world of asking questions is to use the word “Why” at the beginning of the question.

I know, you have been using the “Why” questions for years and the “Why” question has been used on you for years. So, what is the reason for losing the word “Why?”

First, let’s look at the background of this word as it used in questions. The primary reason we ask this question is honestly to learn about the reasons for a decision or choice.

Second, the problem comes in the form of the answer. 99% of the time, the answer is only a justification for the choice or decision. This is where the results get off track. 

When a person feels they must justify – to you – the choice or decision they have made – well, it becomes personal and emotional in nature. In fact, I have seen this type of question trigger an emotional response I can only label as unpleasant, even harsh.

Here is the key thing you want to remember… yes, people have their reasons for a choice they have or are going to make. And, usually they will share the factors or reasons for their choice when asked about “what factors went into your decision or choice?” And, they usually respond with a list of factors they felt were important to them.

Why is a lazy man’s question we learned from our parents or significant guardians. Yes, parents use the why question too much and usually out of frustration with the actions of a minor. Whenever negative reactions are routinely ingrained into a person’s mind, then the “WHY” word becomes the trigger for the emotional memory – which is usually a negative thing.

Therefore, become more specific in your questions by asking “What reasons… What factors were… What is critical to your… How many items were considered…Which factor was the most important…” These types of questions will give you the necessary information without creating a hostile environment or memory for the buyer.

Now, one last point for you to consider and use. The only time it is okay to use the word “WHY” is when you are questioning yourself regarding your decisions or choices. It does not matter about the emotional trigger when asking yourself the question. Okay, there you have the rest of the story.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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