Your “WHYs” are Killing your Sales

By December 4, 2020No Comments


As the year is winding down, I’m finding myself spending more and more time working with companies in areas of negotiation and sales-based conversations. It seems this “new normal” has led many to believe that pushing deeper into tough conversations is no longer appropriate. “Wait until the timing is right” I’m hearing. So, when specifically would that be? It’s been nearly a year since the world shut down; let’s stop making excuses for why we’re not producing and start working hard again.

One of the tell-tale signs I see of inexperience I encounter often is when sales professionals ask “why.” They hear a customer say “I’m not interested” or “It’s the wrong price” or “I need to think about it” and respond with “why?”

Maybe it’s mane to be innocent, maybe it’s meant to be abrasive––I suppose it’s all in the intention and phrasing. Regardless, the truth of the matter is that “why” is the wrong question.

Stop asking “why.” In sales, “why” is a destructive term because it places your client in defense. If you don’t believe me, the next time your significant other dresses in new clothes and shows you their new favorite sweater, just ask them “why” they chose to wear that sweater . . . let’s see how the response is to that question.

It might seem silly, but that kind of abrasion is exactly what your client feels, and the question of why does not get you any closer to the answer. Instead, ask “what.” Or more specifically, “what specifically.”


The question of “why” does not get you any closer to the answer.


“I’m not interested,” the customer says. “No problem,” you smile and respond. “What specifically about the product do you believe failed to meet your expectations?”

“It’s the wrong price,” the customer says. “I see” you state. “What specifically about the price do you believe isn’t matching the value you’re looking for?”

“I need to think about it,” the customer says. Smiling, you respond, “if you don’t mind me asking, what specifically do you need to think about?”

The question of “what specifically” achieves two main goals: one, it uses a logical response to engage with what is often an emotional statement from your client. Two, it allows you to further identify the real issue at hand, instead of follow the customer’s ambiguity to a point of “no sale.”

It’s a short but rather simple concept that has helped me produce significantly more as a salesperson, and has yet to steer me wrong in high-level negotiations. My hope is you see the same results.

If you ever want to see how I use this question of “what specifically” in action, and leverage this conversation into a sale, shoot me a message or sign up for Obsessed Academy and watch my breakdown of this concept––and more––immediately.