But why?

Two words you should not use when a prospect has a concern, objection, or has shared their decision with you.

But why?

Two words that create a defensive reaction from the person that you’re speaking with.

But why?

Two words that stop your chance of collaboration and an open conversation.

The Why Behind the But Why Caution for Sales Objections

Why am I adamant about this?

I hate to use this example of the pitfalls of “but why?” — though it’s a powerful and relevant example — because it’s such a stereotype. It’s also why so many financial professionals don’t like to be associated with sales…ready?

I was shopping for a car with my daughter. I could probably stop right there, right?

She found THE one and came to an agreement for price with a very nice salesman. So far so good, right?

It was! Until it wasn’t…

The problem started when they took us to the finance room.

Ahead of this visit my daughter and I discussed that she was an adult, and this was her buying decision to make. We reviewed that my role was to only join in if she signaled me.

Yes, we knew that they were going to try to sell her a warranty, and all these other things, and before even taking a seat in the finance office, she said, “I definitely don’t want that. This is the money I need to stay within.”

Less than 5 seconds later, as we sat down, the first words out of the man’s mouth were, “Let me tell you about the warranty.”

I couldn’t believe it and bypassing our agreement that I was a bystander, said, “She’s not interested. We would just like the final number and monthly payment.”

“But why?” he said.

I looked at her, she gave me the official signal, and I said, “Because she’s decided that she doesn’t want the warranty. Please give her the final number and the monthly payment.”

“But don’t you want to hear about the benefits?”

 “No,” I said, “She just wants the final number and the monthly payment.”

“But I think you need to hear a couple of examples,” he said.

And I said, “Stop there. She’s not interested. We’re not open to hearing anything else. I’ve asked you three times now, and she’s asked a couple of times before this for the final number and the monthly payment.”

And off we went into several more minutes with a manager escalation, and not a good situation. As a result, yes, she has a car…and we also have zero loyalty to them nor would we ever step in there again.

Why Not?

So, what happens when we use those two words: but why?

To be clear, those two words together or separately are often a problem. They will NOT help you in a sales situation where a prospect has a concern, objection, or has given you a decision.

The Problem with But in Sales Objections

First of all, the word but is a contrary word. It’s meant to compare and contrast something.

Not this but this.

Which means that when you let someone know you’re going to listen to them, or they’re sharing something, and you add but, right away you’re letting them know that you’re going to oppose whatever they just said.

The Problem with Why in Sales Objections

Then there’s the word why. While you might need to understand why, or you’d really like to understand why, and help them discover why, the issue is that Why is a barrier word.

Asking why outright, early on after hearing a concern, objection, or decision puts them on the defense. There’s an almost guaranteed physiological reaction to why.

A Dangerous Duo

And for goodness’ sake, if you put those two words together, you can’t get much worse in terms of putting them on the defensive!

What can you do instead then?

In the interest of keeping these messages short, I’m going to leave the tip for this message as simply:

Don’t use the word but or why when you hear a concern, objection, or an unfavorable decision. And never put the two together and ask the prospective client, “But why?

There is a powerful and effective alternative, so look for the next video where I’ll share what you should do instead.


Financial Advisor sales training doesn’t have to focus on pushy tactics or high-pressure pitches. Genuine Sales teaches the fundamentals for sales success that allow you to be genuine, ethical, and successful!