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Why The “Why” Is Important

by David Brock on February 25th, 2016

As sales people, we know the “why” is very important in probing our customers. “Why do they feel this way?  Why do you do things this way?  Why is this is a problem? Why wouldn’t they change? Why are they interested/not interested?”

The “why” is important to your people and your own performance in the job.   People wonder “Why?”

  • Why do we have to use the sales process?
  • Why do we have to be data entry clerks using CRM?
  • Why is my quota set the way it is?
  • Why is it so tough to get approvals to do something?
  • Why can’t we accommodate the customer’s request for this?
  • Why do we have to do things this way?

Why, why , why……….

Too often, all we as managers do is focus on the “what.”

  • This is what the sales process is.
  • This is what your quota is.
  • This is what the policy is.
  • This is what the procedure is.

…….you get the point.

Being told the “what” is very unfulfilling. Particularly for sales people who we train to always be interested in the why. It’s in the why that people discover meaning, where they really understand the what. The why provides the context and the reasons.

A simple example, with new clients I tend to ask, “What’s your sales process?” They can always describe, “We have a 5 stage sales process that includes…….” But then when I ask, “Why is it important?” or “Why aren’t you using it?” They struggle. Because they don’t know why, they often don’t use the process.

Why is important in learning and continuous improvement, as well. It’s helpful in understanding and diagnosing problems in individual and organizational performance.  Why drives discovery!

  • Why have we always done things this way?
  • Why do we have these rules, procedures, or restrictions in place?
  • Why are you having challenges maintaining a healthy pipeline?
  • Why aren’t you prospecting?
  • Why haven’t we tried to do something different?

One of the most important problem solving diagnostics is, in fact, called the Five Why’s. Why provides insight and understanding. That’s why we ask it.

Why is important. It’s important to your customers, it’s important to your people, it’s important to you in driving the highest performance possible.

Why don’t you try it?

 Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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  1. Great points David. Too often sales people just accept what the client tells them and fail to ask why. Would love some feedback on a relatively new sales blog I touch on many of the latest sales techniques and challenges faced in today’s market.

  2. Scott Woodhouse permalink


    You are on the money here. Look at our child hoods. When we would ask why, we were told we did not need to know, but in reality for us to be effective we have to know it everytime.

    Excellent observation.

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