Think for a minute: how well do you understand the needs of your clients?
We’re not just talking about your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), the reason why your product provides a unique solution. We’re talking about the specific needs that are unique to each of your clients.
If you don’t know, you really need to find out.
The more deeply you understand your existing clients’ needs, the more prepared you will be to not only elicit their recurring business but sharpen your pitch for new prospects too.
Let’s say for a minute that you sell paper. Not just any paper; your paper is unique in its environmental credentials and its price point. You’ve worked with marketing; you know that your customers have certain needs in common: they have a commitment to being environmentally responsible but also have a tight budget.
So far so good. You can use your knowledge of these broad needs to help with prospecting and as a starting point for your pitch. But if that’s all you’ve got, then who’s to say someone else won’t come along with exactly the same solution: a great recycled paper at an excellent price? You definitely need to do better if you want to keep your client coming back.So what do you need to know?
First of all, you need to understand the specific context of your client’s business. Who are their clients? How big is their customer base and annual revenue? Sure you can find some of this info out through research, but asking them directly about why they're buying or not buying and what they may want to buy in the future can give you a valuable picture of what's important to them. Future developments are extremely important; make it your business to know the trends that are going to influence your clients down the line (whether they know it yet or not).This will allow you to anticipate their needs and be the first along with a solution.
The biggest question to consider is what keeps them awake at night? What problems are they facing for which your product is the solution? To answer this, and all your questions, you’ll need to use active listening skills. Remember the best sales pros listen more than they talk. Check out our consultative investigation questions that will help you gather all the intel necessary to really understand your clients.
Once you’ve gathered the insights, it’s about what you do with the data. You’ll need to use creative problem-solving skills to figure out how you can position your product as a solution for their big problems… even when it’s not necessarily obvious. If you can do this, it’s far easier to build a compelling pitch.
Take the time to take stock of your clients’ needs now before it’s too late and some other charming sales pro comes along and steals them and their valuable business.
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