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Your goal as a sales rep is to turn every prospect’s problem into a solution - a solution that your product can offer. This makes understanding the needs of a prospect one of the most vital skills when it comes to selling any product. These ten top tips will show you how to acutely understand and assess your prospect’s needs and boost your sales revenue.

 

1. Research Your Prospect

Some sales leaders say to spend three times as much time on research as you plan to spend on the call. If this isn't feasible, at least push yourself to do as much research as possible. Using your sales CRM is a great start. Where did this client actually enter the sales funnel? What is their awareness stage, their buyer persona?

Furthermore, some sales CRMs offer additional features, such as email tracking or even slideshare monitoring. If you can see which link, content piece, or slide a prospect clicks on, you can determine what topics they are most interested in.

Additional research could include what the prospect’s company shares on their social channels, LinkedIn posts and company press releases. These tend to be the topics which are highly relevant to that company right now.

 

2. Make Your Potential Customer Feel Comfortable

To truly understand your prospect’s needs, you have to ask fthe right questions. Making prospects feel comfortable and establishing a level of trust will make them much more likely to open up and give you useful answers.

Two great ways to do this:

 

1) Check your understanding of your prospect’s problem

If you’ve done your homework, you should have a decent understanding of your prospect’s problem. Take the time to demonstrate your understanding of their situation and check if this matches their own take on the issue.

2) Be authentic in your speech

It also helps to actively moderate your voice. Don’t jump up an octave and fake enthusiasm, because using this “selling voice” is likely to actually have the opposite effect: you’ll spook your prospects, make them cautious or, even worse, simply annoy them. Use your normal speaking voice – it’s more natural and will make your prospects feel more comfortable.

 

3. Understand Your Prospect’s Needs with Probing Questions

Once you have established rapport and are sure your prospect is comfortable with your understanding, it’s time to delve deeper. Let’s say that a sales rep has found that a prospect’s pain point is to create a more unified customer experience.

By asking questions along the lines of the examples below, you can gauge whether this is the most pressing problem, or if the core problem lies elsewhere:

  • “Are there other problems you’d like to solve before creating a unified customer experience?”

  • “If you could only change or fix one thing in regards to your overall customer experience, would this be it?”

  • “What is the reason you are focusing on customer experience right now?”

 

Prospects often perceive their problems as having equal importance. In order to sell, it’s important to understand the actual significance of each pain point, as it is the most urgent and pressing issues that drive action.

 

4. Pay Attention to the Questions Your Prospect Asks

Sometimes, the questions prospects ask sales reps are the most revealing when it comes to understanding their problem.

For instance, if a prospect asks “Is there a direct relationship between how much I invest and my ROI?” then usually this type of client has a large budget and is interested in your ability to scale with the company. A good sales rep will be able to organically add in upselling opportunities like this.

 

5. Segment Your Prospect’s Pain Points

By segmenting pain points into categories, you can sell with a specific strategy in mind. Usually, prospect pain points fall into one of the following four categories:

 

1) Prospect Wants to Make Money

The prospect will typically bring up sales, revenue or growth targets.

Use case studies to demonstrate concrete ROI, and avoid vague statements such as “Our product will improve your profit margin.”

 

2) Prospect Wants to Save Money

Prospects who want to save money may use phrases such as “trim the fat”, “reduce costs” but also “reduce redundancies.”

Because these buyers are usually highly price sensitive, demonstrating historical ROI through testimonials and case studies is important.

 

3) Prospect Wants to Reduce Time or Effort

Prospects who seem stressed, overworked, or anxious may also use phrases like “it takes such a long time to accomplish this goal” or “this process is time intensive”.

Focus on the time-saving aspects of your product, such as automation and quantify the time your prospect could actually save.

 

4) Prospect Has a Human Need

This type of prospects will use phrases like “increase team satisfaction” or “boost company culture”.

Confirm their emotional desire before showing them how they could benefit. One great way to do this is to explain how a similar prospect benefited in the same situation.

 

6. Identify Your Prospect’s Needs: Discovery Before Demo

Demos can often be too generic or lack focus. You want to sell solutions - and that means you need to understand your prospect’s needs first and customise your demo accordingly.

One effective way to do this is to set up a 30-minute discovery session. A discovery session can be conducted as a call, video conference or meeting. The main aim is to ask questions to learn as much as possible about your client’s specific current challenges and goals.

This session serves as a springboard for the demo by generating interest and giving you valuable information to target the demo correctly. It also sets you up for a win.

 

7. Be Honest with Prospects

It pays to focus on customer satisfaction, even if you come to the conclusion that your product is not the best fit for your prospect. Instead of pushing for a sale at any price, remember that prospects will respect you if you meet them with honest and realistic expectations.

This demonstrates your profound understanding of the prospect's needs and truly earn their respect. If a competitor fails to deliver down the line, you may well be able to reignite the sales conversation.

 

Accurately Assess Prospects’ Needs to Boost Sales

These sales tips can help you gain a better understanding of your prospects core problems. By taking the time to find their biggest pain point, you maximize your chances of closing a sale by positioning an appropriate product as their ideal solution.

This post is part of our Navigating the Sales Cycle series. Download the e-book and discover the 7 steps to sales success