"'Please give me an example.' These are the five most important words in the interviewer's arsenal and they can't be used enough." -Tom Peters
Be it an interview, sales meeting or any conversation, this is a valuable technique.
In my opinion there are a few reasons this is a valuable technique.
It helps you to understand EXACTLY what the other person means by what they are saying. If you don't understand what they're saying, how can you offer a proper solution?
It helps illustrate your interest in their concerns or opinions and solidify their view of your concern for them.
It also helps to get them to think about what they are really trying to say. This may be the most valuable outcome. You can help them think through their true needs so that they will truly understand the need for the solution you recommend.
Everyone benefits from a better understanding of the other person's needs.
So, can you give me an example of how you've used this technique?