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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

A 4-Step Needs Analysis Process that Really Works

4 step needs analysisIf you are struggling to uncover desired business results that lead to cash, perhaps it is time to modify your needs analysis process. Here’s a new model that is getting rave reviews — feel free to take it for a test drive during your next discovery meeting with a new prospect.

1. Assessment

Assess the desired results the business is looking to achieve. Don’t just accept the first desired business result, uncover several to be sure you end up with a meaningful assignment.

Ask questions like:

  • Help me see the business through your eyes. When you look at your P&L, what do you pay the most attention to?
  • What areas of the business account for the bulk of your sales?
  • Do you have some emerging or growth areas that are showing strong promise? 
  • What key business results are you focused on achieving this year?
  • Which results are you having trouble achieving?
  • What opportunities do you want to capitalize on in the future?

2. Assignment

Summarize all the desired business results and select one to focus on.

Follow these steps:

  1. Summarize the desired business results you've uncovered so far.
  2. Ask if anything is missing from the list.
  3. Ask the advertiser to prioritize the list. Which is most important? Most urgent? Focus on an essential business result you have the capabilities to address.
  4. Test the emerging “Assignment” by asking questions about already-existing plans, potential spending to solve the problem, and how soon the prospect wants to see potential solutions.
  5. Agree on one or more Assignment(s) the prospect wants help with and you will work together on.

3. Analysis

Once the assignment is clear, analyze the problem to solve. Find out what is getting in the way of achieving the desired business result. Lead with the consumer journey—focus on what they are trying to get the customer to do.

Ask questions like:

  • Why are you focused on this business result? What makes it so important? What makes it tough to achieve?
  • Who is the Target consumer? What consumer behavior will need to be influenced to achieve this result?
  • What benefits do they seek? How does this advertiser stack up to competitors when it comes to delivering on those benefits?
  • What is getting in the way currently?
  • Describe the journey that brings them to making the purchase you want them to make.
  • What are some of the things you need to see in the ideal solution?
  • What has prevented you from having a solution already?

4. Agreement

Agree on how to measure success. What expectations do they have and how they will measure the results. You should weigh in on this as well. It’s good idea to have 2-3 ways to measure. 

Come to agreement by asking questions like this:

  • How would you describe the ultimate measure of success here?
  • What return on investment are you looking for?
  • Given our conversation about the consumer journey, what are some ways we can measure along the purchase path?
  • What would be an early indicator of success?

Follow this 4-Step Needs Analysis in your next discovery meeting with a prospect to uncover desired business results that lead to closed deals and more cash.

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Topics: Needs Analysis sales strategy sales process prospecting