Understanding Customers’ Needs

When customers come to you asking for a specific product or service solution, they believe they already know what they need. Maybe their friend or neighbor purchased a product or service from you, or they read about your offering in a social media post and they want the identical solution to work for them. But their situation may be different, and if you just sell them what they ask for without learning more about the context of the problem, there is a risk the product or service they purchased will fail to meet their needs. 

Before ringing up a sale, take time to have a conversation with each customer to understand their current situation and what they want to achieve. You have the expertise and experience with your product or service to recommend the best solution for their unique situation.

Steps to Uncover True Needs

Create a simple checklist to make sure you fully grasp what each customer is trying to accomplish. Here are some thought starters, but customize these prompts to fit the product or services you offer.

  • What outcome are they ultimately hoping to achieve? This gets to the root of what motivates them.
  • Are there any constraints to applying solutions? For example, budget and timelines are typical constraints.
  • Where will the product or service be used? Does it need to integrate with existing tools/processes in the customer’s home or workplace? 
  • Ask about must-haves features. An example of a must-have feature might be a digital app to monitor a product remotely.
  • Discuss nice-to-haves. What characteristics are desirable but not mandatory? This shows you where there is room for customization and upselling.
  • Have they already tried other ways of addressing this issue?

The Benefits of Needs-Based Selling 

Taking this consultative approach, though it requires more time upfront and possibly employee training, pays off through:

  • Happier customers who get the solution they want the first time
  • Reduced returns and complaints
  • Stronger customer relationships built on trust
  • Positive referrals

Following this process with each customer shows your interest in helping them, not just making a quick sale for your business. This focus on value will build your reputation and bring more customers back time and again.

If you would like to discuss strategies to grow your business, let’s talk:

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