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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Explorers Needed

salespeople explore needs of prospectsMarco Polo, Christopher Columbus, and Magellan.

These are legendary explorers who set out to discover the great unknown of our world! These men were brave, bold, and courageous. They feared nothing. They were willing to risk it all for the sake of discovering a new world!

What does this have to do with sales? 
We NEED Explorers! 

Explorers?! Yes! 

Not to discover new worlds, but new needs! We must discover the desired business results of our customers and prospects. Because without discovering prospect and customer needs, we will never be able to provide solutions that we can sell. 

Time and time again, I meet with salespeople who are afraid to ask tough questions, dig deep, and discover the real business needs of their customers and prospects. Often, they are so excited to finally get that initial meeting that they are just thankful to ask generic questions about their prospect's business. They don't want to bore them, make them mad, or get too nosey.

The problem with that strategy is that you are actually wasting your time and the prospects. What good is a 30-minute visit if you don't walk away with a real need and assignment that you can solve? 

It's worthless! Sure, you might get lucky and actually make the sale, but you probably won't. If you don't discover a real problem, challenge, or need, you can't help them solve it. And believe it or not, people buy products and services because they believe it will help them solve a problem or help them grow their business. 

So, what should account executives be exploring in their initial needs analysis to discover desired business results? 

3 Steps To Help You Discover Your Prospect's Desired Business Results

1. Start Broad and Narrow It Down 

Begin your needs analysis with broad, general questions about the prospect's business. Focus on goals and objectives and then transition to questions involving problems, challenges, and opportunities. 

2. Summarize and Prioritize the Needs 

After you have spent time discovering the various needs of your prospects, you will need to summarize all of the mentioned needs to ensure that you are on the same page. Then, have them prioritize their needs so that you have their top need that you will help them solve.

3. Don't Leave Without an Assignment 

That's right. If you walk out without a specific, measurable assignment for the need that you uncovered, you have FAILED. Sorry. It's that important. For you to deliver a solution to their most important need, you must get an assignment. The assignment is the key to providing a solution that will solve their needs and allow you to close the deal.

Is it scary? It can be. But, if you want to help grow your customer's business and achieve their desired business results, then you must become an EXPLORER. An explorer of needs. 

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Topics: Needs Analysis salespeople sales performance customer focus