Many sales people make the mistake of talking all about how great their product is, even with the features and the benefits both covered, but they forget to first identify the needs of the customer.
You might assume that the person who arrives at the BMW dealership in a Volvo estate wants a safe car with a big boot, but how do we know that he or she isn’t after a sports car to go with their Volvo, or their kids have now grown up and left and they don’t need the estate, or they don’t like the Volvo, or maybe it’s not even theirs – their Lamborghini has broken down and they’ve borrowed the Volvo from their friend.
So it’s obviously a good idea to find out what the customer wants and then tailor your offering to fit that exact need – no wasted time telling the customer about things that are of no interest to them. All this requires is to ask the customer some questions and listen to the answers, e.g. “What do you like and not like about your Volvo? What’s made you come to the BMW showroom today?”.
Benefits of identifying needs:
- Avoid wasting their time and ours with a scattergun approach, hoping to hit the unknown target at some point
- Sell them the right thing – the thing that is best for THEM
- Be able to explain WHY it’s perfect for them
- Be able to explain why WE are the prefect supplier for them – in case they are thinking of shopping around, and maybe buying on price alone. We can show how our attributes fit with their needs.
- We might be able to sell them more than they think they need, things they maybe don’t even know exist, if appropriate – if it will help them with their problem then why not?
- They are more likely to like us because asking them questions and listening to them makes them feel important
- We can buildthe needs before providing a solution, for example by asking them what happens if they don’t do it, or how much they are losing at the moment – this makes it less likely they will decide to postpone the purchase, and perhaps end up not making the purchase at all.
So – never assume you know their needs, always ask, and confirm, and quite possibly build them up so you are BOTH clear about why the person needs your help.
Onwards and upwards!