Have you ever experienced having to answer the same questions twice during a doctor's appointment?
It’s frustrating, but it can also make us reflect on the questions we ask our prospects. Are we asking the right questions to make us think deeper if it were our own business?
Even the most experienced salesperson can overlook the importance of being highly prepared for the initial needs analysis. To address this, you can start implementing "The 5-Phase Hourglass Needs Analysis" for all new business calls and existing clients you want to grow.
Phase 1: Build Rapport
- Make a personal connection, give a quick overview of the agenda, and ask some easy-to-answer needs analysis questions.
Phase 2: Discover Their Needs
- Now it’s showtime! Probe for a broad range of potential needs, problems, challenges, and opportunities, some of which could turn into good Assignments. Spend quality time prior to your meeting (don’t do this the day of the meeting) preparing questions and gaining knowledge of their business and industry. This highly critical phase will not only provide a path for your client, but will also help cement your credibility.
Phase 3: Get an Assignment
- Summarize the needs and ask the prospect to prioritize them.
- Focus on the most important one you have the capabilities to address.
- Agree on one (or more) assignments. This is something the prospect wants help with and wants to work shoulder-to-shoulder with you.
Phase 4: Analyze the Assignment
- Open up the questioning again to get in-depth information about the assignment(s) uncovered with questions such as:
What makes this need important?
What has prompted it to go to the top of your priority list?
What are some of the things you would need to see in the ideal
Phase 5: Contract Next Steps
- Agree on the next steps which include your tasks AND at least one for your client.
So, for your next needs analysis meeting, how are you going to prepare?
Don’t be that doctor. Think about what you would expect if you were the prospect and prepare accordingly.
*Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in 2014 and has since been updated.