Offer Your Solutions
Offer Your Solutions
The information collected by your Needs Analysis will help you make more accurate and valuable recommendations to each customer concerning his or her needs. As a result, the customer comes away with a solution rather than just a product and you come away with a satisfied customer, rather than just a sale. Your customer now has a greater appreciation for your company because she no longer sees you as just a salesperson. You are now a “trusted expert.” What a difference a few well thought out questions can make.
Should your Needs Analysis reveal that your products or services are not the best solution for your prospect’s needs, however, it is in your best interest to tell him so. Selling a product to someone who doesn’t need it may get you a sale, but it will lose you a customer. It can be tough, but it is important to keep the longterm value of your customer relationships in the forefront of your mind. In the end, everyone will be happier and the payoff will reflect it.
Why should you take this “problem solving” approach to sales so seriously? Because as you may recall from Marketing, people are not looking specifically for your products or services, they are looking for solutions to their needs. A Needs Analysis addresses those needs directly. The more typical and less effective sales approach begins with the product or service, promoting its advantages or benefits. This focuses the presentation on you. No matter how wonderful you are, however, the prospect is really more interested in his own needs than he is in yours. The Needs Analysis redirects this focus back where it belongs, on the prospect.
So stop worrying about making sales and start worrying about providing solutions. We call this needs-based selling and if you do it properly, your prospects will take care of the selling themselves. While it is true that you will likely need to ask for the business at some point, if your sales and prospecting systems do their jobs well enough, the final transaction should be the natural conclusion to a satisfying experience.
As you may recall from “Marketing,” buying decisions are made emotionally and are backed up by logic. For example, a prospect may be interested in purchasing a new home because the beautiful landscaping or the huge kitchen stirs up fond memories of their childhood and they love the idea of their children growing up in such a home. Once they have made the emotional decision to buy, however, they will begin to look for logical reasons to back it up. Your salesperson’s job is to support this emotional decision by reminding them how they will feel once they have made the purchase and by supplying the information their logical mind is looking for to back it up. If they love the house, for example, they may then want to know more about the quality of its construction or its proximity to the best schools.
Your goal is to develop a lifetime of business and a continuous stream of referrals from each prospect, not simply to make a sale, so it only makes sense to keep your prospects best interests at heart during the entire process.
Try this simple, needs-based approach to the “solutions phase” of your sales system.
Begin by asking formal questions to get a basic understanding of your prospects needs as they relate to your products and services (this was your Needs Analysis above).
Next, ask open-ended questions, probing for more detail in any area of concern. Help your prospects to prioritize their needs so you can focus your efforts on their greatest needs. You may even identify needs your prospect was not aware of.
As you review their answers, offer solutions to their needs. Give special attention to those that can be solved by your products and/or services. Look for creative solutions. Finding solutions your prospects were not aware existed can go a long way towards establishing you as a trusted expert.
Your Needs Analysis along with your solutions, form the core of this needs-based sales process. Everything else either leads into it, embellishes it, or leads out of it into a possible sale.
In some instances, this will culminate in a formal presentation for your prospect. In others, it will be more casual. If you are a financial planner, for example, you may provide your prospect with a comprehensive, personalized financial plan that responds to the specific needs you identified through your Needs Analysis process. If on the other hand you sell washing machines, you may simply recommend and demonstrate the particular size and quality of machine that will best serve your prospects needs.
"Don’t sell me books, sell me knowledge. Don’t sell me insurance, sell peace of mind and a secure future for my family. Don’t sell me a house, sell me comfort and pride of ownership. Don’t sell me clothes, sell style, attractiveness, and a sharper image. Don’t sell me a computer, sell me time saved."
How will you or your sales staff conduct the solutions phase of your Sales System? Depending on your needs, this may include…
Recommended or sample solutions to common needs
Detailed customer reports