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If you think selling is hard, see how easy it is when you ask people this one question
Last Updated December 19th, 2013

If you’ve ever wondered:

“How do I determine the wants and needs of my ideal customer?”

“How can I identify my ideal customers’ pain points?”

“How do I describe my ideal customers’ problems in their own words?”

“How can I convince prospects that my product/service will work for them?”

Then I’ve got great news for you.

How to Get Inside The Mind Of Your Customer

To get into the minds of your prospects and customers AND to start converting more prospects into customers today, all you need to do is ask them one simple question.

What’s that question?

I reveal it in this video.

After you’ve watched this video, be sure to leave a comment on the blog post letting me know how and when you plan to implement this question in your business.

And if you have no plans on doing it – shame on you ;-).

Also, if you’re looking for more tips on selling, this year on Social Triggers we covered a BUNCH of great things you can implement. Here’s a running list:

1. Why you shouldn’t discount

2. Tired of people haggling your rates? You’re making this mistake.

3. Why people don’t buy what you sell (and what to do about it)

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94 comments Leave a comment

Like a duh. What a simple question that is so overlooked. How many testimonial opportunties have you missed. Considering people will mostly talk about there bad experiences but you have to ask them about there good experiences. Then they rave and coo. Nice.

Mary Ann Einarson

Loved this!!! Jess Lively sent me your way, and I have a feeling that I’m going to be eternally grateful. I especially liked the little bit at the end about how reading testimonials makes you feel. (I’ll admit that when things seem extra bleak, I read them to myself – it helps to remind me why I’ve bet the farm.)

I’ll be changing my “Yotpo” message right away to include the big question. And, I’m anxious to dig into more of your material. Thank you!!!

Patty Ann

Derek, you are all about common sense. Just what the world needs more of. Kudos to you!


I have a customer feedback form but never thought about including this question…I will integrate this now…instead of having a plain remarks box at the end, I will change that to “Why did you invest?” question. Let me see what my customers are coming up with…I hope I get some really good answers πŸ™‚

Ivan Widjaya

Wow. I love reading your blog because your ideas are just amazing. I would definitely try this with out target market and see how it will turn out.


I am a volunteer swim coach but already have 5 clients that are excited about getting private lessons from me. You’re right, I should ask them why! Ps Love the haircut πŸ™‚


I have watched of your videos and I plan to make this change to our website. Great insight and tips. I do use testominals but I never thought to connect them to, “not ready to buy today,here are 5 resons customers bought today”! Love it.Thanks again for your great insight!
Pure Integrity Soy Candles

Beth Charron

I liked this video and I will make a point to ask this question of new subscribers. Thank you

dora g

Recently I bought something online and that’s exactly what I was asked on the order success page, “what’s the one thing that made you want to buy our product?”
That really freaked me out. The company I bought from was not well-known and I never bought from them before; and the question above got me wonder whether they mean that I shouldn’t have bought from them and whether they don’t even *know* why people should buy from them.

Is there a way to twist the question to avoid same kind of reaction?

    Sid Kassidy

    I personaly send the question after a year. I sent a happy new year and explained my question. They understood and where happy to help. I would not ask it right away, after purchase when they did not see and used the product first. Maybe timing and way of asking.



Love your blogs. I’m a Realtor so I think this is a great question to ask current and past clients! Adding this to my new habits this year. πŸ™‚


I’m going to email my members tomorrow. Thanks!! Simple yet genious!

Sid Kassidy


I use to have reviews on my products after a customer receive the piece but I never asked them directly why they decided to buy from me.

I just applied what you shared here and I must say that I’m very happy to have done it. The comments I received from ALL my clients were awesome and even better then the reviews. They explaned in great detaisl why they took action and added some compliments on top of their previous review. they also replyed relly fast so I think they liked that I asked!

I also took a few lines to thank them again for their order and wishing happy new year.

I feel I connected deeper with them by talking direclty to each of them, asking, reading, and then thanking them for the reply.

Most of them told me they where thinking of buying again. And the details they gave on my products where amazing! I learned what pushed them to buy but also, their reaction when they saw it, used it, how they feel about it, what needs they had that I filed up and also the style they attribute to it and what they think about the quality.

I’m blown away.

Its just so much better then the great reviews I received form the same customers.

Its very useful and helpful to know and its heart touching! Gives me more confidence of what I can say to futur prospects too.

I’m proud I took action on this.

Thank you so much!!!

John Di Carlo

So true! I have been in sales most of my life and it is an unbelievable fact that NO so-called sales trainer (and hey why would you want to train salespeople if you can sell?) ever taught that one question. The biggest reason most salespeople never ask why is fear: fear the client might turn around and say, “Wow! I don’t know. I wanna cancel!” Thanks again Derek!

    Sid Kassidy

    I agree with you and I never though of asking. But I did it and I told myself that even if I would receive bad responses it would be constructive. I’m just blown away by the richness of what it gave me to have acted on this. (you can read my experice below). Cheers!


Great article as always Derek. Practical to say the least..

Akash Agarwal

Great tips. It’s a helping hand to the business owner. I also learn much more things from this article from this article.

Miriam Ortiz y Pino

I will be adding this question to my system this week!


I watched ‘Why people don’t buy what you sell’ and ‘One Question you must ask customers’.

But, I noticed most of your videos are regarding business-customer-salespeople interactions.
What about your business and competitors?

I don’t know if you created a video on this topic: how to create a business’ customer base when there’s established competition in the market.

How can I convince customers that I can offer them something my competition cannot that can improve my possible customers’ lives? I would like them to try my product, but I’m worried that they are TOO loyal to my competition…

What is the most effective marketing technique you can recommend (demonstration, testimonials etc.)?

By the way, great job on the video, I enjoyed the advertising technique!

Sorry for the long post!

Rose Jolis

I would love to implement this into my buying customers. I just have not got any customers! Life coach/leadership training to the people who work and play in the yachting community. The really big yachts that you see out there. People say, he nice website and thats it!


Thanks for this video, Derek! It’s funny when I used to teach live classes, I would often give each participant a note card to collect email/contact info and I always asked them include why they came to the class and what they hope to get out of it. Never even occurred to me to do it for all my clients and services now. A great reminder.

David Mispilkin

Hi Derek,

This is great advise especially in a field like mine. People buy above ground pools for all kinds of reasons but the biggest reason is because they couldn’t get there installation questions answered for free. I now offer free at home visits both before a purchase and after. The after visit yields me more repeat business which is changing the way I do business.

Thanks again,
Dave M.

Paul Turner

Great question.


Great advice! On a similar note, I work for a top hotel company and one of the things they stress is ask “what’s most important to them when it comes to choosing a hotel?” Before we even start selling.

Joshua Lutz

Thanks for the tip, Derek!

I have multiple businesses to try out the tip. One of which is recording guitar tracks for people. They send me an mp3, I send them the recorded guitar files.

I can’t wait to hear what people say and incorporate that into a sales page/pitch!

Love your stuff! Thanks!

Joshua Lutz

Susan Fenrich

Hi Derek,
The other day I asked someone why they had bought from my competitor previously and got some useful information. This is a good reminder to ask people once they are happy with my product and service. Soon we will have video testimonials on our website.
I love listening to your videos!


Melissa Breau (@MelissaBreau)

Hey Derek,

I love this tip β€” in fact, it’s something I’ve been doing for a while now. I’d add that there’s one MORE question you should ask each customer, after the project is done: What was the biggest benefit you received from working with me?

That ALWAYS leads to some pretty great testimonials that are results-oriented and testify to what benefits you offer in the language of your target customers!

    Sid Kassidy

    I agree! This is exactly wat happened to me when I decided to act on this.
    So useful!


Yep, for sure going to use this. I love how you always come up with the most simple ways to make big improvements in our businesses! Thank you Derek.


Yes, I’m going to implement this. Yes I refer you all the time and I have to say I miss your more casual approach – you seem to have toned down your exuberance which bums me out a bit. I’m a big out there personality too and I loved seeing how excited you are about everything. Just sayin’.

Dina Eisenberg

Inspiring video as always Derek. I’ll add your idea to my questionnaire for new clients. I already ask what would make our consultation wildly successful for you, which gives me the road map to making clients deliriously happy.

Annie, I see your point. You could say, ‘I fall in love with all my pieces. I’m curious why did you fall in love with this one?’ that’s honest ad transparent. Hope that helps. Asking the right questions is my talent.


    That is a great way to word it, and totally truthful! Thanks, Dina!


Love this question suggestion πŸ™‚ !!! I just did a newborn shoot on Sun and will ask them after they place their order πŸ™‚


This sounds great, but how would I go about asking? Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but it feels awkward to me. I sell a niche handmade/artisan product. When I try to go through the wording in my head, it either sounds vaguely accusatory, or shocked that anyone would want my product, haha. Anyone have a little script idea?

    Sid Kassidy

    I’m in the same nich you are. I’ve acted on it last week and I don’t regret it at all. The answers I recieved where so helpful and heart touching. BEtter then previous reviews I received form the same customers. They literally wrote paragraphs about it! I told myself I had nothing to loose even if I could maybe recieve negative comments because it could help me serve them better in the futur. They all responded quickly and where happy to do so!

    Here is exactlty the message I sent them:


    Fist, I want to thank you for supporting my work during the year of 2013 and I want to wish you a beautiful happy new year!

    May I ask a simple question?

    I would like to know why you decided to purchase my work. What puched you to support my work in particular? It may be a simple response like ” I found the jewelry beautiful! ” or ”I don’t know!” πŸ™‚

    If you take two minutes to remember what was your personal reason to buy my product and share it with me this would help me serve you better.

    Any answer counts, just plain honnesty is perfect regardless of what it is.

    Thank you so much for your support and for taking a little time reading me.


    Hope this can inspire you. Do it! You wont regret it πŸ™‚


      That is so helpful, Sid! Thanks for taking the time to spell it out for me.

Martha Preston

There is something wrong with my video player so I didn’t get to view what the secret question was!!! Can someone please let me know what the tip was so I could implement it as well!

    Sid Kassidy

    He said to ask your customers why they decided to buy from you. I did it last week and I’m blown away by the results! Do it! πŸ™‚


I literally paused the video so I could do this before I got busy in other stuff and forgot. I’m launching a product in January, and I just modified the initial welcome email to include the two questions. I’m excited to hear their responses!



You definitely raised an amazing point on returning business from clients and/or new customers. I have to admit its soooo simple,but yet as business owners we focus on product most of the time. You have given a strategy that taps into the consciousness of the consumer and what their feeling is. The key word is ” Acknowledgment”. Everyone wants to feel validated, and you have brought that feeling with this tip . Thank you for it ! I look forward in applying this strategy to my businesses and looking forward to more tips.


Yes, this is realy good question. I’ll ask it more often πŸ™‚

Theresa Stanley

Hi Derek,

Great tip! I’m going to add this to my team training for my black belts and staff!


I don’t know about wording it blatantly “Why did you buy from me?” but I have started asking folks if they are interested in giving a small testimonial as I would like to build up my testimonial page. It was all honest and transparent. So far I have had good success with folks willing to provide. πŸ™‚

Avelardo Lopez

There are many people I follow. Its sad when I unsubscribe from their feeds, but usually after seeing that every other e-mail is a sales pitch. Thus far I have enjoyed your videos, and thus far see value in what you teach. I look forward to getting your e-mails each week. Thank you for your work, please keep it up.

Laura McGregor

Fantastic advice Derek. Thank you for sharing it! Really appreciate that.

liz scully

Great advice – but without doubt that is the cutest outtake I’ve seen from you. Plus you’re right. Reading testimonials DOES give you the warm fuzzies.

So here’s another for you – I always get great value from your posts. Even when they reference articles and research I already new about. They’re either a great nudge or a good interpretation. Thanks!


I am a hairstylist, trying to break into life coaching as well. I will absolutely ask this question tomorrow. It is kind of out of the box for a cut and color but fun to see if answers surprise me!
Thank you Derek


Simple and succinct – which is really helpful when trying to make things easy for people to comment.

Liz Wright

Definitely an important thing to do. Testimonials from customers can be influential in a converter’s decision – I know I’ve read a lot of reviews of products prior to purchasing and even my students will say they review RateMyProfessor.com before taking my class (even though those are biased, but anyway).

I think an equally important question is “Why not?” Why didn’t someone buy? Granted, it may be an easy answer that you can’t do anything about – for example, I didn’t buy BTC because my blog doesn’t have a product and it was out of my price range. But it may be an important answer you can do something about. A perfect example – today my husband was handed a list of customers who created an account from January 2012 on but hadn’t bought anything. His boss asked him to find out why. 20 pages of 20 contacts later, he found two patterns. 1) The company had gone out of business. 2) The company wanted to purchase online and have the item shipped to them but his company’s website didn’t allow them to (I know, WHAT?!). I Googled their product and found they had the #1 Google listing. But you can’t do anything online, can’t get prices, can’t see inventory, nada. It says “Call for prices.” Forget that, customer will go to the next link where they can get a price and get it shipped.

Long story short, the answer to “why” and the answer to “why not” may both be useful.

Thanks for the great content!


This is great, Derek. I plan to use this approach in January when I offer my yoga nidra audio series online again. I have some quotes from customers but I will gather more before then.

Happy Holidays!


Looking very dapper in this video Derek.

Great tip, and one I shall be implementing immediately!

Hopefully will get some useful replies to help fine tune my sales copy!


It’s such a simple action to put this into practice and I can see how effective it’s going to be. Thanks for the insight and I am implementing this now. Christmas came early baby!

Scot McKay

Hey Derek, GREAT advice.

Back when I sold Internetworking projects I used to also ask prospective customers whose projects we had LOST bids for what we could have done better so we’d have a better shot win the next one.

Not only were they often very candid with constructive advice, we indeed ended up winning the next go-round a surprising proportion of the time.

The Get In Shape Girl

I have a whole list of questions my clients have to answer upon signing up with me. This is going to be added to that list!

Sarah Jordan

Love the pocket square. Thanks for the great tips, Derek.

Fernando Biz

Great tips and gave some really great tips. It’s true, since I places the testimonials on my Blog home page the inquires when up and got couple of new confirmations for the my WordPress Trainings in a week.


Okay. Watched the video. I blogged about this exact thing a few days ago. It’s just a good tactic. Your existing customers are where you get the best copy from.


Haven’t watched the video yet, just want to say I am getting popups to sign up for your list even though I’m already on it. Definitely not my first time on your site either.

Max Miller

Yes, we will use this question. Sometimes too much is taken for granted. Time to wake up.


I love your question, Derek.

Another question I always ask is: what will make you see this project as a success?

I ask this question so that I can spend my time on what matter for my clients rather than what matter for me, whom opinion is ultimately useless.

We work in the social media field, where you can track everything from clicks to retweets and followers and engagement and so on (you name it), that also help understanding which metrics we need to track in order to show our progress to customers.

Freddie Mixell

Derick don’t you think having so many calls to action at the end of your video will leave visitors confused?


We sell beautiful beeswax candles! I always follow up with new customers but you have given me another idea for what to ask. I call Friday ‘Feel Good Friday’ because that’s the day I contact everyone from that week and I get so much great feedback. I use the testimonials that get permission to use on our website and in my blogs and Facebook. Of all the guys out there telling me how to sell you are the one that I really pay attention to. You rock!


Love this


Yep, I’m all over this tip!


How and when? That’s easy. Next sale I make! I sometimes do this already, but I’m not consistent about it, nor have I been tracking the results. This month we’ve been working on systems and processes in our business so I will definitely incorporate your tip. Thanks!


Thanks, Derek. I just updated my follow up email to include those two questions for those who have purchased one of my products.


This question also reinforces the buying decision. Lots of value from asking a customer why they purchased.

Megan Reile

GREAT suggestion! I’ll definitely be incorporating this into 360Alumni’s marketing and sales endeavors!

Gordon Firemark

Totally! I’m in. It’s part of my new-client intake process from this point on.

I’m actually just getting ready today to send a survey to my existing clients and referrers. I’m going to adapt this question for use in the survey, too.

Thanks Derek!


I will be using this on my new SaaS business website πŸ™‚
The anticipated launch date for the site is January 16th… and between now and then, I’m going to ask that very important question to three of my newly acquired customers to feature their responses on the new business website!

Piotr (Peter)

Derek, Another great post. I watch everything you send me and I apply it immediately. Today I am meeting with a client who will be picking up her products. I will defenately ask her why she invested in my products and services. You said at the end of today’s video that you feel amazing reading testamonials, the fact of the matter is… You Are Amazing!!! Thank you for all of your help, I look forward to more social triggers in the future.



Shared on my Facebook page!

This is something I recently started doing – and you are so right on Derek. You find out the most random reasons why people decide to hit the buy button… I love it!


Rivka Kawano

Great tip Derek! This is something that I always ask my clients. Another added benefit you didn’t mention is you can make sure that your clients are always satisfied. By knowing exactly what their primary purchase motivation is you can over-deliver in that area. This makes them more likely to buy from you again, as well as to rave to others about how great you are in the future. πŸ™‚

    Sid Kassidy

    Love tis! Thanks for posting.


Pretty good stuff.

I’ll let you know how it works out. Asking questions is a great way to uncover the things you didn’t know.

Sourav Saha @ Blogaholic

Hey Derek, Great Tip! I must say it can help one identify “worth a million weird reasons why some choose to buy something from you” & YES it’s great for scoring testimonials too :). I totally love this tip with one small confusion.

I mean think other way, people might just say “Dude! you don’t know why people are buying from you? Aren’t you sure about your product/service/other stuff will help your customers?”

In simple words doesn’t it portray you don’t know why people should buy from you. I’m confused if it backfires…please help.

    Sid Kassidy

    I did it last week. My customers where all very opened and comprehensive of the question and they where happy to reply!
    I can’t say enough of the benefits I ahd from doing it. I shared how I asked the question and the results in two other comments below. Hope you try it!

Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing

Great one, Derek — I’m totally implementing this on my next class!


This is great stuff Derek! I will certainly implement this in my business. In fact, I’m thinking about having it go out automatically after they purchase. It will ask them to complete a “3” question survey and I’ll give them a free gift for investing their time. Sweet-n-sweet!!



I am one of your HAPPY subscribers to BTC. I have a busy life and business. I have gone around and around for years trying to learn the “secrets” of a successful website.

What you have taught me in the last few weeks has been invaluable. I look at building a successful business like building a masterpiece with Legos(tm). Each Lego piece adds more color and definition to your work of art.

I plan to use your advice in this video to enhance my masterpiece.

Thank you!

Lynne from Design The Life You Want to Live


You are d’bomb dot com ! Love your videos. Love your style. You rock it AND you look great in a suit too. haha. Truth !

PS. I wait until the end of each of your videos because I luuuurve your bloopers/ extra video bits. Too funny ! It inspired me to do my ‘about me’ video on my bloggy. Thanks for the inspiration !!

Now, I am going to add your testimonial idea and ‘why did you invest’ into my new ecoommerce platform next month.

Thanks a bunch !!! Merry HoHo !!



Awesome tip! Thanks! I’ll include this question from now on when I thank my customers for their online purchase and hope they’ll answer me back:)


Good stuff Dereck. I’m in the process of writing a autoresponder for my new list. Great timing with your tips. Definitely going to use your strategy.

Dr. Becky

Hey Derek,

Yep, I will use this question in my online business. In fact, we implemented this simple strategy with our chiropractic office. After a new patient comes in we ask them to visit our website and leave a comment about our service and how they felt they were treated. We are amazed at how willing people are to share their thoughts. And, the great thing is that they do the work for us! They go to the website, add their thoughts/testimonial and it is there for the world to see (Can you say free advertising?). Now that I am blogging I will get this same type of page set up on my blog!

Great idea…as always!


    That’s a great idea, Dr. Becky! I am going to pass this idea along to a few of my clients that are local business owners. I think it’s a great idea for any business, online or “offline”.


Thanks Derek great video. Its not something I’ve thought about asking on a regular basis before, but can now see the importance.

Jim Wang

I incorporate this question in my email newsletter followup series because it can give you a lot of insight into what people are thinking (which is better than guessing). Hear enough of the same stories and you might even be able to build a product out of it.

    Sid Kassidy

    ”Hear enough of the same stories and you might even be able to build a product out of it”. Thank you for confirming a though I had after reading the responses I had from my customers! You are right on!


Hi Derek,
Great video and simple but powerful actionable tip.
So here’s what I am going to do.
I am going to send out emails tomorrow to customers who ordered today.
As you said, we think we know why our customers buy from us, however it would be great to learn what our customers have to say.
I ll update here when I ve answers.

And yes it feels amazing to read testimonials.

Thanks again for sharing this.

Ti Roberts

Great advice, Derek!

Yes, I absolutely do plan on using this in my blog business. I’m in the midst of rewriting my email sequence now to bet a better idea of my my readers/customers really need and want, so it’s great to have your validation on this.

Thanks for this video and I hope you have a great holiday ahead! πŸ™‚

~ Ti


Hi Derek,
I’ve been in sales my whole life and that’s the one thing most sales people don’t do is ask.
I mean ask for the sale, referrals, what they liked best, why did they go with you?
It’s amazing what you find out when you ask, then shut up and listen to the client.
I am starting a new video production company specializing in video sales letters.
I will ask every client, so I can keep doing what it is that keeps my clients coming back.
Great article.
Copy is king!
Thanks Bud!


YES! I will absolutely ask this question. Such a freakin’ simple question for clients to answer. I’ve gotten testimonials in the past but asking a much more succinct question will make it easier for everyone. Great tip for leveraging their answers to tweak sales copy and pitches. Thanks for straight forward advice that’s actually actionable!

Jeff Harrison

Another great topic. I have used this particular process for some time. In fact many times when with my business partner on calls when we debrief after each client meeting we do a good better how…and implement the updates immediately….Yes you are a genius and enjoy all of your content…


YES! I will absolutely ask this question. Great advice – I hadn’t thought about it as a way to help tweak my sales copy and pitch. Dude! Thank you!

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