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Working with our team this week, I was recently reminded of an old story I used to tell the sales teams I trained and worked with back in my finance days. It was called The Brown Cow Theory.

The Brown Cow

A mortgage salesman went into a farmers house to get him to refinance his account and pay off his existing debt using the equity he had on his property.  While he was sitting with the farmer, he realized there was a brown cow just standing in the kitchen.  He definitely thought it was weird but it didn’t phase his amazing sales pitch he went in to close the farmer on.  He left and felt he had it sold after the great meeting and rapport he felt like he had built up with the farmer.

That sales man calls back a few days later since he had not heard back from the farmer.  The farmer explained to the mortgage salesman that he ended up going with another company.  When he asked, “Why?”  The farmer explained that when another mortgage salesman came to discuss his options, he asked about the brown cow in the kitchen.  When he found out that the brown cow was in the kitchen because their barn had burned down, the other mortgage salesman worked it out to pay off some of his debt but more importantly use the equity to build him a new barn.  All he did differently was simply ask the question, “Why is there a brown cow in your kitchen.”

A business built on “why”

At Movement, our identity is built on asking “Why?”  We don’t come in as answer guys; we come in as question guys. Answers are easy. Good questions are tough. They require commitment, research, and experience.

Make sure you are asking the right questions.  Check out what questions we ask when developing a website here.

Seth Godin says it like this:

“You can add value in two ways:

  • You can know the answers.
  • You can offer the questions.

Relentlessly asking the right questions is a long term career, mostly because no one ever knows the right answer on a regular basis.”

Make sure in any project you start with the right questions.

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