Why “Non-Selling” Conversations are So Important


Get to "The Real Truth"

“You are defined by the quality of the questions you ask.”

This is a principle that Butler Street talks about in every training session we deliver. But we have also found the “context” in which great questions are asked can make a significant difference in the quality of the answers you receive! Asking great questions is part of the job of a salesperson. Yet salespeople are also responsible for winning contracts and orders. Because of these sales duties, selling can create friction between the seller and the buyer which impacts the quality of the answers.


  • What if you had the ability to have “non-selling” conversations with your customers?

  • How would that change the dialogue?

  • How would a non-selling interview elicit different responses from your customers?


Selling interactions are designed to move you closer to a deal. Non-selling customer interactions have a totally different objective. These discussions are designed to identify business opportunities from a broader perspective. They enable you to address challenges such as:


How can we improve our customer experience?

What new services can we offer that might appeal to a broad range of customers?

Why do customers buy from us?

What do they love about us?

Where can we improve?


The ultimate objective of selling is to grow the business by solving problems you can address with today’s solution set. The ultimate objective of non-selling interactions is also to grow the business, but to do so by improving your service approach or by uncovering needs that you haven’t yet discovered.


Here's How It Works


The most effective “non-selling” approach is to conduct a Voice of the Customer (VOC) Survey. This entails having a series of qualitative, non-selling discussions with ten to fifteen clients that you think represent the greatest opportunity for growth in the future. During the interview, we cover a broad range of topics about your relationship with the customer, asking questions such as:


How significant is your relationship from their perspective?

Why did they select your firm in the first place?

How did they learn about your services?

What problems were they trying to solve?

How well have you solved them?


By aggregating these responses from your most important customers, we start to see patterns emerge that can better inform your strategic growth decisions as a company.


VOC surveys are best administered in combination with quantitative surveys, like Net Promoter Score® or customer satisfaction assessments so that you can analyze both data driven results and verbatim input from your customers in order to pinpoint your best opportunities for future growth. VOC Surveys provide some of the most important and detailed feedback you can get because they are conducted with customers without the pressure to buy that is often created in a sales interaction.


Insights You Gain


When Butler Street conducts VOC Surveys on your behalf we are not trying to sell to your customers (so there’s no friction) – we are simply trying to gain their insights about your relationship. Through this process we can uncover your clients’ Key Value Drivers – such as what they look for in relationships, how they view their relationship with you and how they wish they were being serviced. By having non-selling conversations with your customers, we are able to identify areas of potential for growth and areas of concern. We uncover their top initiatives for the coming year and how they view your ability to help them vs. your competitors. We break these insights down by category as well, so you gain visibility to how individuals at different levels in the customer organization perceive your relationship.


In the end, non-selling conversations are extremely helpful in driving growth by giving you customer perspectives that are unencumbered by the friction of a sales process. You get “The Real Truth” from your customers, and by doing so, you can confidently improve your client Acquisition, Retention, and Expansion initiatives.


Learn more about Butler Street’s Voice of the Customer and Net Promoter Score® solutions or contact us to get started.