Comprehensively understanding your clients’ needs empowers you to provide solutions that will most benefit those buyers, keeping them loyal and enhancing your sales. Use our quiz and tips to master performing a top-notch client needs analysis.
Quiz: Do You Ask Clients & Prospects These Types Of Questions?
“Who are your best current customers? Who are your target customers?”
“What are your current and past marketing activities? What has worked and what hasn’t?”
“What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing?”
“What are your marketing goals?”
“What marketing, product and/or service initiatives do you have planned for the coming months?”
“Who are your primary competitors? What are their strong points? Their weak points?”
“What makes you stand out from the competition – why do people do business with you?”
“What services and/or products do you offer that are most popular with your customers?”
“What are the most important goals you would like to achieve in the next half-year to 12 months?”
“What are the biggest obstacles to achieving those goals?”
GET TO THE CORE OF WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING FOR
Execute these strategies to perform a sales-driving customer needs assessment today.
- Do Some Sleuthing: Find out as much as you can about prospects before you interact with them. The information you discover will help you ask more salient questions that get to the heart of the buyer’s real needs – and show that you know your stuff. Pre-meeting research will also help you craft specific leading questions that enable you to reply to client responses in a way that allows you to showcase your strengths. This preliminary background digging often proves beneficial even if you have been working with a buyer for a while. By checking out a client’s company website, blog, social network pages and media-generated articles/videos involving the business, you’re better prepared to understand the buyer's particular challenges and goals.
- Build Toward More Complex Questions: After the preliminaries, tell clients you’d like to develop a full understanding of them and their company. Start with easier questions, which can be tailored based on your research: “Congratulations on your company being in business for 5 years. I understand you’ve been here for much of that time. How did the business get started?” This warms the client up. From there, build up to more complex questions about the client’s customer demographics, marketing initiatives, challenges, goals, etc. Again, make the questions as client-centric as possible. “It looks like your products are geared toward millennials in the technology field. Are those your core customers?” And once that’s answered: “Are there other markets you see opportunity with?”
- Keep Your Ears Open: Asking the right questions is one thing; comprehending the answers is another. Listen closely and absorb what the prospect is saying. Use your tablet to take notes. Through the discussion, ask follow-up questions to fully flush out clients’ points. Additionally, make sure to pause and paraphrase back key points to ensure you understand. As importantly, when a client is speaking, use non-verbal cues to communicate that you are listening. Lean in a bit, make eye contact and nod understandingly when a client makes a point. Be sure to allow the prospect to fully complete his points; if you interrupt, you may miss out on important information.
- Pass the Puck: No matter how thorough of a discussion you’ve had, it’s wise to ask toward the conversation’s conclusion: “What are we not discussing that we should be? What else is on your mind?” Often, additional pertinent details about the buyer’s goals, worries and needs emerge. Even if nothing else relevant is discussed, asking this question shows you are a meticulous operator who cares about getting every necessary detail.
- Lead Them to What Works: Sometimes, there is a considerable gap between what clients think they want and what they actually need to meet their objectives. As the expert, it’s incumbent on you to bridge this gap and suggest solutions that result in goal achievement, rather than just fulfill a client’s first request. Say a university is looking for branded gifts it can offer to alumni to stimulate increased donations. The buyer wants to order certain products, but you know that given the university’s target demographic, the likelihood of those items falling flat is high. Tell the client those are possible options, but ask if he’d be open to seeing alternatives that you believe could generate superior ROI. Where possible, provide case studies, testimonials and a clear rationale for the items you suggest.