Needs – Understanding needs and how we apply them
We talk about ‘needs’ all the time. At work, we talk about meeting the needs of our customers. Yet, do we really understand what it means?
There are so many different selling models, evolved over the years to meet the current market demands. It wasn’t long ago that the consultancy based sell was the way to go – sales people were encouraged to ask questions of the customer, in order to get to understand their world.
Today, we have entered the realms of the challenger sell. Customers are too busy. Many no longer have the time or the energy to spend getting the sales person up to speed with what they think and how they feel – they want the seller to have already done their research and to arrive, ready and able to articulate their problem and show them a short-cut to the solution.
Is this what the customer needs?
Does the customer need your product? probably not. Unless your product is unique and a matter of life or death, your product is not the customer’s need.
Does the customer need to have easy access into the services your company provides? No.
Does the customer need you to keep them up to speed with the latest innovations? No.
Does the customer need you to ask great questions? No.
We are not that important to a customer. We are not what the customer needs and neither is our product or our service.
The customer needs clarity and a way forward. They need to know that they are in control of things, on the right path and sometimes it helps to be offered another perspective because they can’t see the whole picture from where they are standing. The customer needs attention and appreciation and the chance to achieve something.
We can help to give them these things first and foremost through heartfelt connection. Whether we connect using the consultative sell, or the challenger sell is the process, without connection neither will be successful.
In a decade and a half, working as a roleplayer, I have been on the receiving end of thousands of sales calls, negotiations, coaching and performance reviews and in my experience, the primary indicator of success still in 2014, is the ability to connect.
Before planning your next customer meeting, try this exercise:
List down as many things you can think of in response to these questions:
“What do I really like or appreciate about this customer?”
“What is it about this customer that I don’t like, or that I anticipate to be difficult?”
Next, convert all your dislikes into the appreciation column.
eg: “He is rude” might be converted into “He invites me to give him a fresh perspective.” Or, “He is only interested in cost” might become “He is discerning, he needs to understand the value we have to offer.”
Now, plan your meeting bearing your answers in mind and feel the difference it makes to the way you approach the meeting.
The most productive conversations at work and at home come from the heart, not the head and they require us to have both courage and vulnerability in equal measure.
To find out more, please contact Lucy Windsor at The Performance Business 01932 888885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org