There have been plenty of books, papers, and articles written about methods of identifying customer needs, though most fall short of discussing the importance of communicating consciously as a sales strategy. While books like Customer Analytics for Dummies discuss 10 methods for identifying customer needs, we find that the majority of such content concentrate solely on process rather than tackling the emotional side of sales.
The best salespeople are those who connect with customers and communicate effectively to discover what the customer really wants. When this happens, the salesperson can concentrate on satisfying customer needs and wants by selling the value proposition.
Here are the top interviewing methods of identifying customer needs:
1. Learn to listen
Effective communication is achieved firstly by listening effectively. Make the prospect aware that you are listening by reacting to what is being said, asking pertinent questions, and never interrupting.
2. Avoid making negative comments
Negative comments, and negative questions in particular, lead to confusion and an atmosphere of negativity. There is also the possibility that a negative comment could be heard as if intended sarcastically (“You don’t have a CRM system, do you?”). It’s best to ask open questions, but if you need to ask closed questions, ask them positively.
Getting into the habit of being positive will flow through to the way you describe products and services, too.
3. Communicate energetically
Be enthusiastic when communicating. Understand how your body language says more about you than your words, and how you can use nonverbal communication to evidence you interest and communicate your energy.
4. Learn to ‘read the customer’
Just as your body language will give you away, so too will the customers give themselves away. One of the key methods of identifying customer needs is to first identify with him or her. Reading body language will give clues to levels of excitement, antagonism, anxiety, etc.
5. Be sensitive to the customer’s shortcomings
The customer is likely to have less technical knowledge than you. This is your advantage, but you mustn’t bamboozle them with technical language and jargon that will leave them feeling inferior. On the other hand, over-explaining will make the customer feel like you are talking down to them, damaging the chances of making a sale even more so.
6. Be clear, concise, and careful
When talking to customers, always do so with clarity. Don’t take 1,000 words when 10 will do. And be careful how you say things. It is easy to misinterpret meaning, so think carefully about what you’re saying and to whom.
7. Remember that people buy on emotion
Recognize the emotional reactions that customers have, and use these to your advantage. A customer doesn’t buy a new printer because it has a new paper feed system that jams less often – he or she buys it because it eliminates the frustration caused by endless hours of manually feeding paper into the existing machine.
Our Integrity Selling Course will help your sales team onboard new skills, embed methods of identifying customer needs, and hone to perfection. The result will be a high impact sales team on an exponential sales curve. Contact us today to discuss how to propel your sales team to qualified success.