Needs Identification

Needs Identification

Needs Identification Jonathan Poland

Needs identification is the process of discovering and understanding a customer’s needs, constraints, pain points, and motivations. This is a fundamental personal selling technique that is used to identify how a product or service can meet the customer’s needs and provide value. By identifying a customer’s needs, a salesperson can tailor their proposal, pitch, and negotiation tactics to address those needs, and increase the likelihood of making a successful sale.

Needs identification involves listening to the customer and asking questions to uncover their requirements, constraints, and pain points. This information can then be used to develop a solution that addresses the customer’s needs and aligns with their motivations. By focusing on the customer’s needs, salespeople can create more compelling and persuasive pitches that are more likely to result in a successful sale.

An IT company is considering a commercial solar installation. The solar salesperson begins by asking about goals in areas such as sustainability, operational efficiency and power redundancy.

Pain Points
A business software salesperson asks customers about problems they have experienced with their current platform.

A cloud infrastructure salesperson asks the customer about their relationship with their current provider in areas such as support.

A real estate agent asks a customer about their budget and the timing of their job relocation.

A software salesperson asks questions to quantify the number of user subscriptions the customer will require such as the size of their operations team.

A robotics salesperson asks a manufacturing firm about the steps in their production process to understand their basic requirements.

An electric bus salesperson asks a customer how much fuel their current fleet uses each month.

A software platform salesperson asks a customer whether marketing or operations will sponsor the purchase.

A car salesperson asks questions to understand if customers are motivated by factors such as status, safety, performance, features or aesthetics.

Key Decision Factors
A real estate agent asks the customer to rank their requirements such as proximity to a school as either “must have” or “nice to have.”

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