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Sales Master Best Practices: Understanding the Importance of Identifying the Customers Needs By Dave Kahle


Master sales people understand that we sell different levels of products and services, and they regularly talk with customers about their needs that go beyond just product and price.

“We need two cases of widgets.” Here’s how the average salesperson responds to that request. “I have them in stock. It’ll be $300 each case.”
Ah, but the superstars have a different approach. “OK. Can I ask why you need those now?”

“Sure,” says the customer, “we got a new project from one of our customers, and these are going to be packaged with a couple of other things for the sample prototypes.”

“Oh, so your customer may decide to buy these on a regular basis?”

“Yep, if the prototypes work out.”

“And, you mentioned they were going to be packaged with a couple of other things. May I ask what those other things are?”

“Sure. We’re adding didgets and fidgets.”

“OK. Did you know that we also have didgets and fidgets available? And that we have a division that assembles custom packages for our customers. We could probably assemble those, and provide you the finished packages. That would save you assembly time, streamline your inventory, and simplify your ordering. Would you like a quote on what that would look like?”

Note the difference between the approach by the average salesperson, and the approach by the master. The average salesperson fielded a superficial question, provided superficial information, and thought he was doing a good job.

The superstar took the opportunity to dig deeper into the customer’s request, discovered a deeper opportunity, and then proposed a combination of products and services that met the customer’s deeper needs.

The average salesperson responded to a $600 opportunity. The superstar transformed that opportunity into a quote for considerably more money and that carried with it the advantage of becoming more important to the customer.

The average salesperson would have thought he was doing a good job by blissfully coasting right by a much deeper and larger opportunity. The superstar dug in and uncovered a bigger deal.

This kind of scenario happens every day, in every field of sales. The mass of salespeople are content with the superficial, while the masters use every opportunity to uncover deeper, more significant issues and then to make a bigger, more important proposal. That’s one reason why they are masters.
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If you would like assistance structuring a sales system or sales development program to suit the specific needs of your company, you can reach Dave Kahle at 800-331-1287 or by visiting the Dave Kahle web site.

-What are your thoughts? Is there anything you would like to share that would be helpful to your fellow sales professionals?

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  • Andrew

    Nice post Josh.

    You are right about the superstar’s approach. I often find my average sales people know how to be a superstar but they get nervous.

    They just want to get the order and get out of there.

    Superstars are those who are calm and collected.

  • Hi, 

    Glad I found your blog. If we really want to make our customers happy , then we must know and understand their wants and needs. And I believe the fastest way to do this is simply to ask them the right questions. We may need to ask them repeatedly and in different ways because customers don’t always know what they want.  And most of the time,their needs change now and then.  

    Thanks for your knowledge,

    Nadine

  • I’m glad you found the blog too Nadine. You’re right, questions, when genuinely used as a way to learn about our customer or prospect for the sole purpose of being able to better serve them, and deliver to them what they most want is so very important. Like the saying goes, “why waste time trying to figure out what someone wants, when you can cut to the chase and just ask?’

    I hope you’ll drop by and participate in our community here often.