The ‘What, Why and So’ sales technique is a persuasive selling approach that focuses on understanding the customer’s needs and pain points before then offering a solution to address those specific concerns. It’s a simple yet effective way to connect with potential customers and demonstrate how a product or service can benefit them.
It involves 3 stages:
1. Explore the ‘What’ to identify the person’s pain, problem, fear, want, need or desire.
2. Establish ‘Why’ it is important for them to overcome or to obtain their ‘What’
3. Reply with the ‘So’ that shares how your solution to the ‘What’ provides their ‘Why’.
With this 3 stage approach, your prospect often leans forward and is more interested to hear about your ideas…
Want to know more about applying this sales technique?
Here’re some thoughts to help you consider how you could use the “What, Why and So” technique in your own business.
Identify the ‘What’ by asking open-ended questions to understand the person’s needs, challenges, and goals. This phase is all about active listening so you can gather information, but importantly understand their emotions and motivations and start connecting the dots to find solutions. For example:
- What is it you’re trying to achieve?
- What challenges are you currently facing?
- What features or qualities do you expect?
Acknowledge the ‘So’ after the person has shared their concerns or needs (the ‘What’), empathise and acknowledge their situation, clarify it with them to make sure you’ve got the right understanding. Let them know that you acknowledge their pain points and objectives. This step is crucial in building rapport and showing that you genuinely care about their concerns.
At this point you are uncovering the real why and confirming your understanding. For example:
- ‘OK, so as I understand it, you’re looking for X that can help you improve Y. Am I right?’
- ‘So just to clarify, it’s important for you to find a solution that can [address a particular pain point], whilst [meeting a desire].’
This then leads naturally to you receiving permission to present the solution.
Once you’ve identified the customer’s needs and acknowledged their concerns, present your product or service as the ideal solution (the ‘So’). Tailor your explanation – pitch – to highlight how your offering directly addresses their specific requirements and provides value. Focus on the benefits rather than just the features. For example:
- ‘This [product/service] is designed to streamline [specific process], which will help you achieve [desired outcome].
- ‘So, with our [product/service], you can effectively [solve a particular challenge].’
The ‘What, Why and So’ technique is effective because it allows the opportunity for you to demonstrate your genuine interest in meeting customers’ needs, and that your product or service is not just a generic offering but a personalised solution to their unique problems.
And please remember, they’re not interested in you, and you don’t have permission to tell them about yourself until you have established a deeper connection and they actually want to know more!
Did you like this technique? If you’d like to discuss more with an entrepreneur who’s tried them all, let’s have a conversation. And if you’d actually like to know more about me, we can have a networking 1:1!