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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

What I Learned Again about Sales—from the Guy Who Poured My Wine

learning-about-sales-from-the-guy-who-poured-my-wineAnybody who knows me knows I enjoy a glass of red wine. I am not a connoisseur by any means, but I do love a good glass of Cabernet. 

While traveling recently, I requested a glass at dinner and the server went above and beyond the call of duty. Instead of serving me the house Cabernet (honestly, I would probably have been fine with that), he immediately asked what I liked. Full bodied? Heavy? And then he proceeded to pour me three samples to choose from. The dollar-per-glass charge for samples became a moot point. I knew what I was getting and that I would enjoy my vino with dinner. What service!

This server also called most customers by name when they entered, poured their “usual,” and asked about their kids and pets. Oh, to have more servers like this….

What was the sales lesson I was reminded of as I watched this genius server in action?

Simply stated: Price becomes a moot point when the salesperson does their job well. It starts with truly understanding the prospect’s needs and comes to fruition with the development of a tailored solution. Let’s focus on the first part of that, the needs analysis.

  1. Are you preparing yourself—and your prospect—for a good needs analysis? Are you setting clear expectations and doing your homework prior to the meeting?
  2. Are you asking broad, open-ended questions early in the meeting, and then moving to more specific questions as you hear needs you can help with?
  3. Are you giving assignments so as to test whether you and the prospect are on the same page throughout the process?
  4. Are you getting clarity on the relative priority of the prospect’s needs, to ensure that you’re working on something that’s important to them and not just convenient for you?
  5. Are you contracting next steps at the conclusion of a needs-analysis meeting (and all meetings)?

That degree of care might be over the top for a restaurant server, but for those of us in business-to-business selling, which is seeing bloodier competition than ever before, it’s exactly what it takes to win.

Tune into your customer's needs and make bigger sales by downloading the hourglass needs analysis PDF.

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Topics: Sales sales process