This question is one of the single most powerful tools I use on a daily basis. “Why?” helps me develop knowledge and insight into each of my client’s businesses and programs. The basis for strategic decision-making and accompanying tactics comes from understanding why clients take the actions they do.
Last-minute requests have a reason behind them. A seemingly ill-conceived program may make more sense when we understand the purpose behind it. We can even look at our personal relationships in this respect; why would someone make a decision that we find offensive or hard to understand?
When we’re in the moment of trying to understand, “Why?” can be a powerful bridge that opens our minds to new possibilities. If we listen and offer recommendations based on our understanding of “Why?”, then our relationships with clients (and those with friends and family) become stronger.
Every request my team receives from clients is an opportunity to develop an understanding of what the needs may be behind a particular request. What goals are the client trying to achieve? What outcomes do they seek? I put a lot of thought into my own responses to make sure they adequately address what the client is asking or concerned about, which helps put them at ease.
It’s important to note that while asking “Why?” helps understand what the client needs, what the client needs may not always be what they want. We need to come to a mutual understanding and relationship built on trusting our experience. Our job in revealing client insights is to help them grow and prosper. Understanding “Why?” helps us explain to our clients the choices we make, especially when they run contrary to their expressed desires.
“Why?” is powerful question in client communications; it’s also a valuable tool for developing an understanding of data and how to make decisions based on that data. When looking at conclusions my team has developed, I’m constantly asking “Why?” to understand their conclusions. Digging into the answers together helps us all better understand when the next opportunity presents itself to use the knowledge we’ve learned to help other clients and colleagues.
Use “Why?” every day to question yourself and your work. It’s such a powerful little word. When used right, “Why?” can answer many other questions.