3 Ws + 1 H = Need Identified

March 1, 2016

To ensure that our team members at InsideOut succeed on personal and collaborative levels, we have pledged to develop a company philosophy, or a company best practice playbook, together. In our fifth panel, lead by our Accelerators Joe Shea, Ellen Bawcom, and Michael Hinojosa, we briefly discussed the importance of identifying a strong need through problem questions.


After achieving situational stickiness, it is imperative to identify stronger needs through problem questions. Studies have demonstrated problem questions are strongly linked to sales success, especially in smaller sales, for they explore problems, difficulties, and dissatisfactions in areas where your products or services can help.

With that direct relationship identified, our Accelerators have determined the 4 types of problem questions that are critical to discerning the issues at hand:

(1) WHO

“Who typically has to deal with the problem when you run out of storage?”

(2) WHAT

“What are the difficulties you experience with your present system while processing orders?”

(3) WHEN

“When you add new users to your CRM, is it expensive?”

(4) HOW

“How many leads do you lose a month using your manual process?”

Prior to a call, it is imperative to develop a question in each of these categories, so you are prepared to make the most of your opportunity. Organizational planning relative to problem questions is a huge factor behind the direct relationship of problem questions to sales success.

3 Ws and 1 H. That’s all it takes.