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.
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.