How to Identify what a Client Needs
What’s the best secret weapon for identifying what your clients really want and need?
It’s quite simple really – knowing when to speak and when to listen.
You’ve probably heard the saying about the best salespeople having two ears and one mouth? And listening twice as much as you speak?
These clichés make a lot of sense. That’s why they’ve become clichés. They were possibly intended for that perception people have of the pushy salesperson with the fine-tuned sales patter who won’t let anybody else get a word in edgeways.
In truth, effective selling in the ‘20s is a mixture of both. You need to become attuned to knowing when it’s best to be quite and let the client speak and when to pick up the pace by asking lots of questions and funneling down their needs.
Listen and Learn First
It’s always been a good idea to give your client open forum to speak freely first.
Besides professional courtesy, you might find yourself on a voyage of rediscovery about them. The client you were familiar with previously might be a different client now that the world is starting to envisage a post-Covid landscape.
Give them free rein to tell you about –
- How they’ve been impacted by the pandemic.
- Are they in a better or a worse position.
- Their employment situation, (are there concerns for their own job and/or job losses in their business?).
- Their hopes and plans for the ‘new normal’.
- How’s business?
- What struggles are they having?
Listening to them enables you to put yourself in their shoes and get a sense of what it feels like for them. Only then are you best placed to react to it and formulate potential solutions. Empathic salespeople do much better than those lacking in this skill.
Now Speak and Problem Solve Second
When you’ve established you client’s position it’s your turn to step up. Now’s the time to start funneling down to a solution for them.
You might know about the sales funnel. It’s covered in several of our Sales Training Courses. Like the physical funnel it was named after, it’s wide on top, tapering down to a narrow bottom.
Starting wide with open questions and then narrowing down the focus to highlight specific pain points and needs.
After listening to what your client has offered, it’s your job to question them about everything they’ve told you.
You should really drill down into the specifics by asking probing questions, this will help you understand what your clients exact needs are and which of your products or services can help them.
Keep your wits about you and be smart, not spammy. Remember that buying triggers are activated by 20% logic and 80% emotion. So, keep the conversation about what’s in it for them.
Resist the temptation to tell them all about your products or services too early. The client will instantly sense what you’re up to and the sale might be undermined by your own self-interest.
Basically people like to talk about themselves, so if you can formulate the right questions and then listen, so you can identify precise needs – you are more than 80% on your way to a sale!
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