No matter what the question or situation my 4-year old niece will always, always ask “why?” And she asks this because she genuinely wants to understand what’s going on, what is the reason behind it. As grown-ups we become experienced in our field and come to know our customers and competitors well and, as a result, we stop asking why because we feel we know the answer – and to be fair there’s a good chance we do know the answer. But the point at which you stop asking “why?” is the point when you start becoming a less effective sales person for two reasons:
- Things change; you may be able to able to make a fairly good guess at what’s important to your client right now but never assume – you don’t know what’s around the corner for them so you should ask.
- You may stop asking “why?” because your experience tells you the answer, but asking questions is so important as it shows your clients you are interested in understanding their specific needs. They may be different or similar to everyone else, but you need to take the time to let them explain what’s important.
So try it, keep asking “why?” I’m not suggesting doing it in the manner my 4-year old niece does (e.g. relentlessly, and often accompanied by tantrums) but I would certainly be sure to ask the question as you’ll be surprised by the results – especially when you’re the only person to have taken the time to ask.