wardell books

Determine Your Prospects' Needs

Determine Your Prospects' Needs

This phase of the selling process helps you to identify the gap between where your prospects are now and where they’d like to be. Once you identify this gap, you can show them how your products and/or services will help them bridge it. “Relationship selling” helps your prospects make intelligent purchasing decisions. It’s a far cry from the “old school” approach of talking your prospects into a sale. That approach may occasionally result in a sale, but it represents a limited view of the value of a prospect. As we have said, a prospect does not represent one possible sale. A prospect represents a lifetime of possible sales plus a lifetime of possible referrals.

The Needs Analysis

A Needs Analysis is a series of questions designed to identify your prospects’ greatest needs, as they relate to your products and services. If you sell floral arrangements, for example, you might wish to know more about the person they will be given to, the location the arrangements will be placed in, and if appropriate, the nature of the event. As a bonus, a good Needs Analysis can help to position you as an expert in your field in the minds of your prospects. By asking questions before offering your solutions, you demonstrate your thoroughness and your thoughtfulness regarding your prospect’s needs. This alone will differentiate you from 90 percent of your competitors. Besides, offering solutions before you are fully aware of the problems can take you in the entirely wrong direction. So ask thoughtful questions and listen for the answers. If you don’t hear them right away, probe a little deeper until you do.

Depending on your needs, this part of the Sales System could take many different forms. For example, an accounting firm might benefit from a detailed written Needs Analysis whereas a restaurant might be better served by a few simple questions. In any case, the goal is the same… to identify the true needs of the prospect. There are businesses for which a formal “Needs Analysis” is not necessary. This can happen when the prospect is very familiar with the offering and does not need the advice. At a fast food restaurant, for example, customers can typically make their own purchase decisions with limited, if any, assistance. In effect, the customers conduct their own Needs Analysis. Even here, however, your sales staff should be prepared for the occasional question. A soccer coach may need advice when purchasing a meal for a whole team, for example. A few well chosen questions such as… “How many athletes do you have?” “How old are they?” and, “Are they boys or girls?” could help the sales staff make some quick and helpful recommendations.

Use the space below to design your Needs Analysis. Keep in mind that it can be as complicated or as simple as your circumstances require.