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The Sales Shrink – But…Why?

by Tina Cherpes, Featured Contributor

Behavior Therapy #17

ON ANY GIVEN Saturday the car ride to swimming lessons was filled with conversation. And while the topics varied wildly, they all followed a similar pattern that went something like this; “Why are there rainbows?” “But why does it rain?” “But why does it only happen sometimes?” “But why is it different colors?” “But why is purple last?”

sales shrinkAsking “why” is one of the most frequently adopted methods children have for gaining information about the world around them. And while “why” has different levels of meaning and motivation for children at different ages, “why” questions give us insight into what our children are thinking about.

In the sales arena, the different levels of “why” bring about similar opportunities to gain invaluable insight/perspective into the minds of our clients. Armed with this information, we’re able to align our product and/or service more closely with our client’s core motivation. With higher degrees of alignment, we’re more likely to effect client satisfaction, our close ratios, and our remuneration. Our job therefore, is to get our clients to reveal the real “why” by using great questions.

Okay, so what does that mean? It means as we age, we begin to filter our responses for the approval/acceptance of our audience. We often mask our true motivation or real “why” from others in fear of judgment. We’ll illustrate with a sales scenario. A friend asks “Why did you buy a VW mini-van?” The response, “They had an amazing rebate”. The answer is safe, “everyone” understands and respects a savvy financial decision; right? The real “why” however is an emotional attachment to the brand that brings back memories of what it was like before we had so much responsibility; it reminds us of what it felt like to be independent and free and this “why” we fear, would not be understood or respected by “everyone”.

Herein lies our challenge as well as our opportunity, it is possible to help our clients emotionally connect to our product or service more consistently when we learn to effectively use “why”. Features, support, price are commodity driven, rationalized “whys” that don’t give us much insight into our client’s core motivations and don’t help us align our product/service. We can begin today by incorporating a “why” question just one more time than we usually do into our conversation, “Why is that important to you?” is a great place to start.


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