Understanding your customer’s needs is a critical step in the sales process; if you understand this, you are empowered to construct the best possible solution for their problem. Without this information, you are just doing guesswork.

With this knowledge, you can personalize your solution by emphasizing the fit of your offering with the customer needs. More than just generic features and benefits, this personalized offering is tailor made and only they can design it. The challenge is for you get access to the right information and then match that information with your offering’s benefits.

To personalize your offering with the customer’s needs, you need to do the following:

– Slow down; it is not a race.
– Ask them open-ended questions that begin with “Why…” and/or “How…”.
– Ask them to give you examples.
– Listen and don’t offer solutions (just yet)
– Reconfirm your understanding of their needs or problems by repeating their needs or problems. Say something like, “If I understand you correctly, you need…”
– This may sound trivial or overly deliberate, but you might have missed something or misunderstood.
– Make sure that they confirm that you got it right. This will often trigger them to think of other things that are also important to them.
– Having created a confirmed list of the needs, take a deep breath. (Sometimes this next step happens at the next appointment, depending on the complexity of the sales cycle.)
– You can now describe your offering by talking about specific benefits rather than generic features.
– Slowly describe the benefits of your solution while matching each benefit with their need.
– Seek confirmation after each benefit that it matches their need.

By tailoring your solution to the clients’ needs, closing the sale is easy. More often than not, the customer will take over and start talking about the order; in effect, selling themselves. When this happens, you have the deal.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2006 All rights reserved.
My new book “First, Best, or Different” is now available at www.firstbestordifferent.com!
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