The word "why" can be such a harsh word... Then he said "why?"...

By
Real Estate Agent with Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) 01338415

Necktie

If you were wearing a tie, and I came up to you and asked you WHY you were wearing THAT tie...  What would be your answer?  Would you consider it a rude question?  Would you have to then explain WHY you wore the tie?  Some of us would be self conscious about the tie, and think about it a bit...

But what if I asked you the same question, using different words.  I asked you, "what about that tie made you wear it today?".  Would it still give you same feeling that the first question gave you.  Probably not.  You would be happy to answer that question, as it didn't make you feel that you had to explain why you actually wore the tie.

Lawn

So let's think about your clients.  If you ask them what type of yard they would like and they say a big one with a big lawn.  Then you ask the question "why", you are actually putting the buyers in a defensive situation where they have to tell you why they want the lawn.  If you asked it in a different way by saying, "What about having a big lawn is important to you?" you will put your buyer in a situation where they are happy to explain to you the reasons behind their decisions.  It keeps your clients out of defense mode, and it allows you to dig deeper to the real reason they are looking for that type of feature.

I know that the question "why" is a great word to help you clarify reasons behind decisions that buyers make, but try to ask the question "what" instead, and see what kind of results you get from it.

Have you had any successes using the question what vs. why?  Or maybe a horror story?  Lol...

 

 

Posted by

 

Chris Alston

 

Home sales and purchasing specialist

Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino

19400 Stevens Creek Blvd, Suite #200

Cupertino, CA 95014

408-850-6955

408-850-6956 fax

calston@kw.com

www.LivePlaySiliconValley.com

 

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Rainmaker
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Michael Setunsky
Michael's Commercial LLC - Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Chris, rephrasing a question often releases the tension and intimidation it may impose. Thanks for the tip.

Sep 08, 2010 09:06 AM #65
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Jason Potrzeba
Acadia Advisory Group LLC - East Providence, RI
Private Money & Commercial Mortgage Broker - MA/RI

I have a pair of 4 year old twins and the "Why?" word and question is a  constant sound in my house. I wonder if they are to young for me to teach them the value of the word "What"...

Jason

Sep 08, 2010 11:56 AM #66
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Reubin - So funny!  My 3 year old only says it sometimes...  And when he does, it seems that he is really clarifying, as opposed to trying to get to a yes with all the questions.  :)

Sep 08, 2010 12:40 PM #67
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Chris and Patty - I agree!  You can use why, without it being to harsh.  :)

Sep 08, 2010 12:41 PM #68
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Leanne - You are so welcome!  Good selling!

Sep 08, 2010 12:42 PM #69
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

John - You are so right!  That is kind of a cool way of answering the question!  :)

Sep 08, 2010 12:43 PM #70
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Chris - Thanks! 

Sep 08, 2010 12:43 PM #71
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Ron - Love the joke!  You seem like a really driven person!  I'm going to check out your blogs!  :)

Sep 08, 2010 12:45 PM #72
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

 

RJ - Thanks for you comment!  And I can see your point!  Let me know how it goes for ya!  :)

Sep 08, 2010 12:45 PM #73
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Tim - You are so right!  Digging deeper like peeling an onion!  :)

Sep 08, 2010 12:46 PM #74
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

John - You are so welcome!  And you are right, those subtle changes can make all the difference!

Sep 08, 2010 12:47 PM #75
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Tim and Susan - I am going to have to check out that blog!  I must have missed that one.  :)  And thanks for the comment! 

Sep 08, 2010 12:48 PM #76
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Tim and Susan - I am going to have to check out that blog!  I must have missed that one.  :)  And thanks for the comment! 

Sep 08, 2010 12:48 PM #77
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Michael - You are so right!  :)

Sep 08, 2010 12:53 PM #78
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Jason - I dunno!  Try using the word "what" back at them.  So, what about that lollipop is so important to you...  But then they may ask why to that question too!  Oh well, just give em the lollipop!  :)

Sep 08, 2010 12:54 PM #79
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Bryan Robertson
Catarra Real Estate, Inc - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

Asking "Why?" is one of the most powerful conversational tools available.  It cuts through so much ambiguity to get right to the point.  Plus, as you say, it puts you in the driver seat in a conversation.

Good post Chris!

Sep 08, 2010 04:11 PM #80
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Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Cupertino California) - Cupertino, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Thanks Bryan, and see ya at RainCamp!

Sep 08, 2010 04:21 PM #81
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Jason Potrzeba
Acadia Advisory Group LLC - East Providence, RI
Private Money & Commercial Mortgage Broker - MA/RI

Chris, we may have the word "Where" down. One day this summer I had come home from work and changed for the my workout at the gym. When I was leaving, my son had asked me "Where are you going with that shirt on?"

Jason

Sep 08, 2010 06:45 PM #82
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Donna Foerster
Cherry Creek Properties, LLC - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Agent

You make an excellent point!  It's all in how you present the question.  The "why" questions puts the other person on the defensive.  A "what" question is more thought provoking. 

Sep 11, 2010 11:25 PM #83
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Inna Ivchenko
Mannis Real Estate Group - Calabasas, CA
Los Angeles / Valley Homes

I always ask questions and I thought till today I'm very delicate in structuring them. Today I got a call from a lawyer who found me online and wanted some favor from me( no problem, I'd love to help him, why not). I asked him a few questions about his client and he said:' you know what? forget it. I'm an attorney! you ask too many questions' The conversation was over. Really? It was really obnoxious. ( i promise, I did not asked him any 'whys')

Nov 20, 2013 01:18 AM #84
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