Tag Archives: empathy

Learning: Exception to Why

I love an exception to the rule.

Chris Voss in Never Split the Difference talks about the one exception to never using a ‘Why?’ question.

I’ll give it in an example:

“We’ve got some great competitors. They’re almost all cheaper than us. They all offer the same basic service of document approvals. So why are you interested in us?

I guess it works because their not defending themselves. They’re defending someone or something else. There’s no need to be defensive. It allows people to open up.

I used it the other day and it definitely works. The customer/prospect, in this case, opened up and told me about the case.

But I think the real skill is being able to read the answer. Being able to tell just how committed they are after they’ve opened up.

Learning: Why Questions and Defensive Reactions

For years my parents asked questions like “Why are you still on the computer?”

After thousands of questions maybe it isn’t a surprise that I’ve built up a defensive reaction to those why type of questions.

And yet here I am in customer meetings asking “Why are you running one-month cycle plans?”

And maybe it’s not a surprise that customers are often defensive for those type of questions.

It’s probably not difficult to change them to how or what type of question.

So instead I could ask “What are the benefits you get from running one-month cycle plans?”

It’s the same question just worded differently and from an emotional perspective will get a different response. This is something that Chris Voss talks about in Never Split the Difference.

So have a think about how many why questions you ask throughout the day and how you might be able to change those questions to get a better emotional response.