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Why Not Ask “Why”?“Why” questions can certainly provide you with important information. Unfortunately people tend to become defensive when asked “why.” They feel judged.

Imagine if someone were repeatedly asking you “why” you were thinking or feeling a certain way. Even if they had your best interest at heart, you’d probably feel challenged. For most people, their common reaction would be to withhold information or defend their position. Does this remind you of any relationships you’ve been in?

“Why” it Doesn’t Work in Sales:

Imagine that you’ve successfully determined your client’s needs, asking all the right questions, and then you innocently ask… “Why do you want blue instead of yellow?” Suddenly, a chill colder than the Arctic in December rolls through the room. Faster than you could blurt out, “Let’s sign the contract now,” your client goes into a warrior stance. Things have turned ugly. What are you going to do now?

What to Say Instead:

Here’s a quick fix for the dreaded “why” question strategy. Simply replace the word “why” with the word “what”.

For example you could say:

“Just so I understand, what is influencing you to choose blue over yellow?”


“What is it you like about blue?”

Keep Relationships Strong:

To stay out of the line of fire: Replace “why” questions with “what” questions. And don’t ask me why I’m telling you to do this. Just try it. Then let me know what results you get.

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Hi, I’m Kelly McCormick, a Business Growth and Marketing Strategist. I help entrepreneurs & companies to identify opportunities for growth. Plus, I develop targeted branding, marketing & sales strategies. I can help you too!

One Response to “Why Not Ask “Why”?”

  1. Dr. Rae says:

    Have been sharing, teaching and using this approach for some time.

    Say the word “what” and then the word “why”… there ia a more powerful feeling using word “what”!

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