Needs Analysis Part 2.

Before I move ahead with this series, here is part 1 of the needs analysis for those of you who missed it. In our previous blog we touched on how important having a thorough needs analysis is. Now we will cover open and closed questioning in depth so you can discover what your customers are looking for.

You have no doubt heard of the sales funnel. A simple Google search will return thousands of results aimed towards online marketing. The sales pitch as it pertains to face to face, or over the phone selling has a funnel of its own. It most often begins and ends with the types of questions you use.

After your introduction, we head straight into the discovery part of your pitch. It is important to make sure you begin with an open mind before you start asking these questions. The reason is simple. If you draw up negative conclusions of your own, you will end up driving the customer away.

Examples –

  1. “The customer is only shopping.”
  2. “They can’t afford it.”

Entering your needs analysis with this mentality will be a disaster. You will end up asking questions with the aim to get the customer to leave as quick as possible. So, with an open mind, let’s move into open questioning.

Open Questions

These questions are the bread and butter of your needs analysis. They enable you to discover what your customer is actually after. Obviously different industries will have varied questions. You will find though that there are many open questions that are being used all over.

This is actually the beginning of excellent rapport building. Engaging with customers isn’t about how nice the weather is, or did they have fun on the weekend. It is about taking a genuine interest in why they have made contact with you.

– Andrew Vee

Universal Open Questions:

  1.  When purchasing a lawn mower, what is important to you?
  2.  What made you look into purchasing this?
  3.  By the end, what are you looking to get out of this?
  4.  How does your current process work?
  5.  Do you have any issues with your current accountant?
  6.  What do you need fixed?

Using these type of questions opens up doors for you. What you want to find out is not only what product the customer needs. But what is important to the customer.

  1.  Are they buying out of peace of mind?
  2.  Do they want something cost effective and does the job?
  3.  Or do they want all the bells and whistles?
  4.  Is customer service important to them, or do they want to make a purchase and never speak to you again?
  5.  Do they enjoy the added benefits such as the 20% discount at Domino’s Pizza?

The above is the basis of emotional benefits based selling. By knowing the answer to those questions you begin to understand what makes the person tick. Understanding the answer to the above provides you positive talking points moving forward.

Closed Questions:

Now you are sitting there with all the information you need from the customer. You’ve built a great rapport and are over the moon to have them buy from you. To do this, closed questions are your best friend.

In conducting your open questions you will have used closed questions along with it. This next part uses closed questions with more purpose.  Your aim is to reaffirm your customer that you have been listening to their needs and wants. If they have been neglected by other companies this will blow their minds away. You will also remind them of the issues they are currently facing. Then you will position yourself or your company as the solution.

Example Closed Questions (with benefits):

  1.  I understand you currently don’t get the customization you would like. Our top tier service provides you with full control. Is that what you are after?
  2.  You mentioned earlier that you hate waiting to speak with customer service people. We have a full automated system that has 24 hour online support available. If would save you time off the  phone if that interests you at all?
  3.  It sounds like your industrial vacuum cleaner isn’t reliable. We offer onsite maintenance 7 days a week. Would that give you some peace of mind?

In my selling $5,000 vacuum cleaner days, they cited some obscure statistic. It stated that the more the customer says yes, you have X% increase in your chance to sell. Now I don’t know about the whole pinpointing a percentage thing. But I do know, the more agreeable they are in the closed questions section, the more likely they are to buy.

Like always I would like to remind you to write down the questions you currently use and build a list for yourself. Over time you will figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Our next article is going to focus on closing. Until then, if you have anything sales related you would like an article on, please throw it in the comments area.