Selling is about providing a solution. Size up your customer and sell properly, align need to benefits to them, and you’ve won half the battle already. Organize yourself first, then approach your potential customers and ask them questions that work for you the salesperson and the customer.
You need to ask the customer the right questions that give you answers to customers’ need. Listen more. Listening to your customers will provide you with the required information. Help them solve their problem, become an advisor or subject matter expert. Lead the customers towards the solution they can use. Most of the customers have an inkling to the problem.
However, the below questions can remove the obscurity covering the issue.
8 key questions to identify customer needs
- What is the business problem the customer has?
The customer, 90% of the time, will begin with the problem they’re facing — an excellent gateway for your subsequent questions.
- What is the length of the problem? Is the problem a short term or long term problem?
As you further delve into the problem more buried under the surface. Define the real issues. These questions build trust and rapport as the customer feels listened to and understands that you care.
- If the problem persists, what are the long-term/ short-term repercussions?
The above question shifts the conversation away from the rational business issue to the emotional, personal impact. It allows you to fully understand the bigger picture and open up the emotional side of the problem, which is a crucial influencer in most purchasing decisions.
- What measures were taken to deal with the problem, and how did they work out?
Helps you gather intel about competitors and where they are falling short of expectations. It can also help you understand your competitive advantage and deliver a better solution.
- What is the customers’ budget?
Understand what they can expend for the solution. You also get an idea of how far you can push the sales bracket without losing the customer or become creative with resolution so that both can have a win-win situation. The benefits can be in terms of referral programs, exchange of services, and other similar programs.
- What is the cost-benefit ratio of implementing the solution?
The cost of winning the deal can be many things from travel costs, implementation challenges, resources required, and time constraints. With these kinds of hurdles is it worth pursuing.
- How can they extract maximum benefit from their solution?
A question like this isn’t a softball, but it’s time to get a demo on the books. It gives the impression that you understand the customers’ problem better than they know it themselves. It presents you with an opportune moment to showcase your product, better understand the problem, and provide a solution.
- Who is the decision-maker and how they decide to purchase?
Pains, priorities, and roles are likely to be similar across leads. However, buying processes differs across businesses. Fiscal year, budgets, length of sales cycle always varies. Presence of a buying team with varying levels of organization (or disorganization) exist. Understanding it makes sales process a breeze.
Why will the questions work?
- If you ask the customer to state their objectives is a professional and assertive way at the beginning of the meeting, it ticks off right agenda points. Moreover, the customer 90% of the time will begin with the problem they’re facing — an excellent gateway for your subsequent questions.
- Leading questions about current issues allows you to assess the challenges, concerns, and needs quickly. It enables you to understand how you can best help them immediately.
- The surface level complaint is not the real problem. Ask and delve into the problem more buried under the surface. Define the real issues. These questions build trust and rapport as the customer feels listened to and understands that you care.
- Asking these questions shift the conversation away from the rational business issue to the emotional, personal impact. It allows you to fully understand the bigger picture and open up the emotional side of the problem, which is a crucial influencer in most purchasing decisions.
- Suppose a customer tells you exactly what they want, you at this point know what solution to offer. Moreover, if a customer can visualize your solution, they have already imagined working with you.
- How can I help you with the issue? It may seem like a strange question to ask, but in the end, it works. Customers will respond to this question in one of two ways:
- They tell you exactly how you can be of help (i.e., pitching your solution back to you)
- Alternatively, they say, “I don’t know, you tell me” (leading you nicely into the answer yo want to give)
The above can be used to convert high-value solution sales. The questions are not set in stone and can be moved around according to the flow of the conversation.
However, these questions will uncover customers needs, define their problems, increase customer desire to buy your product, and finally enable you close high-value deals.