A few months ago I was working with our client in Los Angeles and the managers were telling me they had a feeling their salespeople were not unearthing all the needs they should in their client needs analysis process. They cited a number of instances where the Account Executive did go deep enough and huge opportunities emerged for both the prospect and my client. They wanted to see that happening more often. After exploring the problem in more detail, I made several recommendations. One of those turned out to be particularly impactful.
I have observed over the years there are generally small tweaks that can make a big difference in the outcome of a needs analysis process. Shared control questions make a big difference, and one in particular has the power to change the outcome completely:
“What else should we be talking about?”
Yes, it’s simple, but in many cases as you approach the conclusion of your needs analysis, there IS something else you and the prospect should be talking about, because the questions asked did not reveal all the important needs. The goal of a needs analysis is to get an assignment from the prospect so you can build a solution, right? So, why not make CERTAIN all the important needs have been uncovered before you begin to develop those ideas?
I can tell you every salesperson at our LA client asks this question every time before concluding a needs analysis. I can also tell you the client is a clear leader in their market for new business development. So, I challenge you to include this question near the end of every needs analysis you do. It’s not a substitute for a well-planned client needs analysis with questions tailored to an individual and their company, but it WILL make a big difference in the final outcome.
What else should we be talking about?