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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Two of the Most Important “To Do” Lists for Salespeople are Hidden in Plain Sight

Needs Analysis and The Critical PathThere is a seemingly endless variety of business books out there that promise to reveal the next profound truth, invent the next strategic angle, or inspire the next great idea. Most focus on some exciting concept that makes for a great read, but fail to address the major problem most salespeople face: Figuring out what’s important and getting it done.

A great friend once put it this way: “We don’t have an idea problem. We have an execution problem.”

What matters most, how are you going to accomplish it, and by when? That simple three-part question is what can lead you to quantum improvements in your billing, and thus in your personal income. And two little “maps” can give you the answers to all three parts of the question: The Needs Analysis Record and the Critical Path.

The Needs Analysis Record

The NAR, of course, is the product of solid needs analysis work, and comes from taking careful notes to the answers you hear as you strive to understand the needs of that client you aspire to serve. It is your record of what matters most to the client. And as Charles Kettering is credited with saying, “A problem well stated is half solved.”  

Further, the NAR helps you zero in on the needs you and your company are best suited to solve, based on the assets you have available.

The Critical Path

My other favorite “to do” list is the Critical Path, which is found on all authentic No Surprise Proposals. This is where you captured the promises you made to the client about the actions you will take on their behalf and the deadlines you assigned to each of these important tasks. In many cases, it is also where you gained buy-in from the customer about the measures they must take to make the solution work—transforming the proposal from a simple pitch to a true partnership.  

You will have clients coming back to you again and again to enjoy the inherent value found in exquisite customer service—if you populate your daily and weekly to-do lists with the content you collaborated on for both the Needs Analysis Record and the Critical Path. Having clients purchasing over and over might make you busier still, but I bet you’d welcome that scenario, especially when you let the output of your strong sales process drive your to-do list.

Free Download: Needs Analysis Record Worksheet
Topics: Sales