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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Setting the Table for a Great Needs Analysis

needs analysis for desired business resultsBefore you can have a serious conversation about desired business results, you need your prospects to open up and tell you about their problems and challenges. When you meet someone for the first time, it can be challenging to get them to let their guard down when they don’t know you.

Topics: Needs Analysis

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...

Topics: Needs Analysis sales performance salespeople

Did Your Needs Analysis Uncover A Need? One Need?

prospect needs analysis discovers desired business resultsCongratulations. You've conducted a needs analysis and discovered a need for a prospect (their desired business result) for a prospect. But, is that good enough? How many needs did you uncover? Surely a serious conversation with a prospect about current challenges, unrealized opportunities, hassles, and trends, would uncover multiple desired business results.

Topics: Needs Analysis sales strategy Sales

#1 Reason Why Your First Sales Appointment Went Downhill Fast and 3 Ways to Avoid

using a valid business reason when getting the first appointmentHave you ever met with a prospect for the first time and felt like the entire conversation was like pulling teeth? Maybe they took a bunch of "Oh I need to get that," phone calls or answered some urgent emails while you were waiting to ask your next question. Maybe you had to have your meeting on the phone, and you could sense the person you were meeting with was distracted and not focused during the little time you had.

Topics: Setting Appointments Needs Analysis successful sales meetings Sales salespeople

Explorers Needed

salespeople explore needs of prospectsMarco Polo, Christopher Columbus, and Magellan.

These are legendary explorers who set out to discover the great unknown of our world! These men were brave, bold, and courageous. They feared nothing. They were willing to risk it all for the sake of discovering a new world!

Topics: customer focus Needs Analysis sales performance salespeople

Five Tips for a Successful Digital Needs Analysis

digital needs analysisYou finally got an appointment with a strong prospect. Now, it is time to prepare for a successful digital needs analysis to make sure that all the effort you spent getting the appointment isn’t wasted. You want to make sure that you have a strong and thorough needs analysis—because understanding your prospect's business, their specific needs, challenges and expectations is imperative to developing a solution that will achieve results.

Topics: Needs Analysis Digital integrated media solution

Ideas Are A Dime A Dozen

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Everybody’s got one. In fact, ideas are not only cheap and plentiful, but their overuse often obscures the work we should really be doing—gaining an understanding of what the prospect is trying to get accomplished. I see so many salespeople (and sales managers) default to premature ideas that end up nowhere.

The temptation is to vomit an idea the minute we see or hear a possible need in the customer’s business. Bad practice. Ask a few more questions and dig a little deeper about what business results the prospect is looking for, what problems exist for them in the marketplace, what opportunities are out there for their category of business they have yet to realize, or what conditions are specific to their category of business. 

Keep in mind that all your competitors are talking about ideas as well. The prospect has heard it all before. What makes an idea valuable is that it addresses a very specific need in that prospect’s business.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

One Size Does Not Fit All

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Like it or not, the holiday shopping season is officially here! The shift of in-store retail sales to online sales gets all the buzz these days, but according to the U.S. Commerce Department online retail sales were just 8.1% of the retail total in 2016. I’m sure that number will be up a bit when the 2017 numbers are final, but the overwhelming majority of retail sales still happen the same way they always have: in the store!
 
My wife likes to say, “How did our moms survive without Amazon Prime?” But, the truth is there is a major value proposition in-store shopping offers that online shopping never will: the in-store experience. Take clothing for example — feeling the softness of the fabric, judging the thickness of that winter coat, asking customer service for another size of jeans from the back, trying it all on, comparing the price of the sweater you like in one hand with the one you love in the other hand.  And finally, you get to see it all, on you, right there in the mirror in real time. 
Topics: Needs Analysis Sales

You Can Get Anything You Want in Life, If…

Help.jpg

Do you know the rest of the quote? Well, here it is… "you just help enough other people get what they want." So, who said this? Perhaps you might think this came from the leader of a social services organization, or perhaps from clergy or some Eastern philosopher. But that's not where this quote came from. It actually came from a long time, well known motivational speaker in the sales arena. That's right, some of you know it was the venerable Zig Ziglar who said that. Pretty heady words from a guy who got his start selling pots and pans door-to-door, eh?

Topics: customer focus Needs Analysis developing strengths Sales

Be Prepared, But ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ As the Story Unfolds

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I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid, specifically the sports-themed set. If you haven’t read or experienced one, it goes something like this… Your football team is in the regional championship game. Chapter One describes the build up to the game, and the summary of the 1st Quarter. Your team is already down by 10 points, and it’s 4th Down and 1 yard to go on the opponent’s 20-yard line. Do you kick the field goal, or go for it with a run up the middle? You get to decide, and the book instructs you which page to turn to based on your decision. It was like video games before video games!

It’s the only genre I loved… something about controlling my own destiny, having a choice, and following the story wherever it may go was thrilling to me. My advice to you is to treat every Hourglass Needs Analysis just like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Go into the conversation with as many of the chapters, and as much of the story line, written as possible. Your research on the business, the industry, and the market should give you a great list of prepared questions that will allow you to Establish Rapport, Identify Needs, Gain an Assignment, Analyze the Opportunity, and Contract Next Steps.

Topics: Needs Analysis Sales