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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Whose Need Is It, Anyway?

Sales StrategySome of the most important steps in your sales strategy should include asking the right questions and uncovering a client or prospect's true needs. Only then can you provide customized solutions.

So, next time you conduct your Hourglass Needs Analysis meeting, be sure to ask yourself if the needs you have uncovered are actually expressed from the prospect’s point of view? Or, when you read over the list of those needs, ask yourself if they are expressed from your point of view.

It is way too easy to put your own “spin” on the needs you uncover during the needs analysis. You might jump to an initial conclusion that really might not match up with what the client truly needs. 

For example, you might determine…

“The problem is that she’s in the wrong location.”

When the prospect actually said…

“So many of my customers tell me it took them a long time to figure out where I’m located.”

These two needs not only sound different, they ARE different. Your interpretation requires a real estate solution, but the client’s expression of the need is one that could require a communication solution. Big difference. And this difference could easily determine whether you actually make the sale or not. 

Resist the urge to paraphrase what the prospect is saying. Listen to their words, and ask for clarification if it’s not clear what they actually mean. Also, be sure to repeat their need back to them for approval. Only the prospect can accurately express their needs from their own point of view, and it's easy to misinterpret these conversations.

If your solutions address the prospect’s needs as they express them (not your interpretation), you’ll provide much better solutions and ultimately sell more. 


If you’re a sales manager:

Coach your salespeople to listen for how prospects express their needs and to resist the temptation to paraphrase or categorize the prospect’s needs unnecessarily. This is best done in the field, so you can hear first-hand what the prospect really said. 


Download this document to learn more about the five phases of the Hourglass Needs Analysis Call. It will help you uncover the true needs of your client or prospect. 


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Topics: Needs Analysis sales strategy Sales