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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

7 Signs You Might Be Doing Your Needs Analysis Wrong

7 Signs You Might Be Doing Your Needs Analysis Wrong

It takes a lot of work to get a first meeting with a prospect.

While connecting with a prospect and getting a meeting is a series of events and second chances, that’s not the case with your needs analysis or discovery meeting. The discovery meeting is your one chance to gather information critical to creating a proposal the prospect will be interested in purchasing.

Let’s look at seven signs that you might be doing your needs analysis wrong.

1. Focusing Only on Needs

If you’re focused solely on understanding client needs, you’ll know their pain points but not the result that they are most willing to invest in. We refer to this as their desired business results.

Focusing on outcomes will put you in a better position to present solutions that the prospect will be more eager to buy.

2. Seeing the Sale Through the Eyes of Your Product

To create a solution the prospect will want to buy, you need to see things from their point of view. What is most important to them right now?

Odds are it’s not your product. Do you understand their business enough to know how your products and services can address their desired business results?

A 4-Step Needs Analysis Process that Really Works

3. Failing to Gain an Assignment

While you need to understand needs and desired business results, you want to leave the meeting with an action item you and the prospect agree upon, and you can create a proposal to address. No surprises. The assignment you base your proposal on should be clearly understood.

4. Running with the First Assignment Offered

It’s exciting when we hear that the prospect has a need that we can solve. Stop. Ask more questions. The bigger issues are not always the first things mentioned. Get used to asking, “And what else?” or “Tell me more.”

5. Not Prioritizing the Potential Assignments

Once you’ve dug deep enough to hear several potential assignments, it’s important to recap them and work with the prospect to identify which are most important to address now.

8 Tools That Support a Great Needs Analysis

6. Poor Understanding of the Assignment

Even when you have agreed upon the most important assignment, there is more to ask to be ready to build an effective solution and proposal. Why are they most focused on this result? What has prevented them from having a solution already?

7. Not Agreeing on Measures of Success

And finally, it’s important to agree on how success will be measured. If this is not clearly defined and agreed upon early, it will lead to confusion and disagreement during the presentation of your proposal or even after the sale is made.

Do you see any in the list of seven that resonate with you?


What Makes a Successful Discovery Meeting 


Let’s move from mistakes to what makes a successful discovery or needs analysis meeting. Here is what our Sales Accelerator Ai had to say:


The result of a successful discovery meeting is gaining an assignment. This means that the prospect agrees to work with the salesperson to achieve a desired business result.

This agreement is based on the understanding and trust built during the meeting, where the salesperson demonstrates their business acumen and positions themselves as a trusted and valued partner.

The salesperson also summarizes the meeting notes, agrees on the assignment focused on a desired business result, and starts working on the agreed-upon next steps.


The success of a discovery meeting lies in understanding the prospect's needs and desired business results, as well as gaining a clear assignment.

By focusing on outcomes rather than needs, seeing the sale through the prospect's perspective, prioritizing potential assignments, and ensuring a thorough understanding of the assignment, salespeople can position themselves as trusted partners who can deliver the desired results.

Additionally, agreeing on measures of success early on is crucial for avoiding confusion and disagreements later on.

To improve your discovery meetings, consider the seven signs of a faulty needs analysis and strive to implement the strategies for success outlined in this blog post. By doing so, you can increase your chances of creating proposals that prospects will be eager to purchase.

Sales Accelerator Ai - See it in Action Button

Topics: Needs Analysis successful sales meetings