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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The Best Needs Analysis That I’ve Ever Seen (and WHY)

needs analysis reveals desired business resultsI just sat there and watched. I was too stunned to really do anything else. It was the best needs analysis that I've ever seen...

  • The way that he connected so quickly with his client.
  • He was pleasant.
  • He had a genuine, big smile on his face as he introduced himself.
  • There was a warmth to him, but also confidence.

This was a man who knew what he was doing, and we could all feel it.

After a little small talk, he jumped right in with his questions. He obviously had a plan. His questions started out general and were easy to answer. Then, he gracefully shifted his questions to be more detailed and probing for more information. The client gladly answered every single question. And when he got the answer that intrigued him, he would pause, write down a quick note, and then ask another question so he could get more information on the subject. 

He would ask questions and help his client answer them by giving them a spectrum to place themselves on. "On a scale of 1-10, where are you right now?" and "What percentage would you say you are at today?" It was brilliant.

And then after all of his questions were answered and all of his notes taken, he asked one more final question, "Is there anything that I haven't asked you that you feel that I need to know?"

Wow! It was a textbook needs analysis!

Was this from an experienced super-star account executive? A sales manager demonstrating how her team should conduct a needs analysis to discover desired business results?

Nope. It was my daughter's orthopedic doctor. Yes, the best needs analysis that I've ever seen wasn't even from a salesperson. It was a doctor who really needed to uncover his client's (patient's) problems, so that he could prescribe what she needed. 

So, what can we learn from this Doctor's needs analysis? A lot!

Incorporate These Three Things to Deliver the Best Needs Analysis Ever

1. Empathy 

The doctor was able to convey his empathy quickly. You could tell that he cared about his patient, understood her situation, and was there to help her. Are we doing the same when we meet with our prospective client? Do they know that we care about them and their business? Or does it seem like we are just there to make a sale?

2. Expertise

He walked into the examining room with confidence. He wasn't cocky. We just knew that he knew what he was doing. There was no doubt, no hesitation, and not even a hint of uncertainty. We knew that he was the expert and he was there to help my daughter with her back injury. Do we begin a needs analysis with a similar confidence in our expertise? We should. We are the experts. We are there to help uncover our prospect's desired business results and then provide a proven solution.

3. Empowerment 

Even though he was the expert, we never felt like we weren't an integral part of the process. We knew that we needed to partner with him so that he could provide the diagnosis and ultimately the prescription we needed to solve her problem. He empowered my daughter to share her knowledge of the problem, and he engaged her to be a part of the solution by asking questions about what she felt she could or couldn't do. Do we empower prospects to be our partner in the process? Do they know that with their help, we can craft a better more successful solution for them? The more we empower our prospects to help us create the solution, the more successful we will be.

So, the next time that you are about to walk into needs analysis meeting, remember the orthopedic doctor who exuded empathy, expertise, and empowerment with his "client" in a way that made the experience pleasant, powerful, and productive!

Free Download: Needs Analysis Record Worksheet

Topics: Needs Analysis sales performance salespeople