Today’s Sales Insight blog post will offer you the ultimate guide to identifying needs with your customers.
One of the biggest weaknesses I observe in sales people is their inability to ask great questions in a structured way. Because of this weakness, many default to a tell sale approach, where they over explain the features and benefits of the product or service in the hope that the customer will make the connections with their own situation and ultimately buy.
However, by leaving it to the customer to connect the dots, we are potentially missing opportunities to understand their needs and position how we might be able to help them.
The GRID Questioning Structure
It is for this reason that we created the GRID questioning structure; a way of constructing you questions to help explore your customer’s need in a simple yet effective manner.
- Goal-based questions – what are they looking to achieve, and what are their goals?
- Review-based questions – The aim here is to understand their current situation, such as; what are some of the key challenges they face within the business today?
- Impact-based questions – We’re looking for areas that are causing a customer problems or opportunities they would like to achieve, so how much is that costing them, or what is the benefit of that?
- Decision-based questions – What’s important to them, what are their timescales?
The GRID is a go anywhere but go everywhere model, meaning we don’t have to follow it in order.
Once you’ve covered all four sections and feel you’ve delivered all the customer needs and exhausted all the questions, ask them one more:
“Is there anything else?”
I’ve found this simple question can be pivotal in uncovering additional needs.
The benefits of having a questioning structure in place
Sales people who follow this or other structured questioning approaches uncover more needs and have a greater opportunity to help the customer.
In fact, on many occasions customers have commented on the value they find in being asked these questions. It not only allows them to think about their own needs but helps them articulate them more clearly.
Widen your questioning scope
My final recommendation is, don’t restrict yourself to one conversation with one stakeholder if you want to identify many needs; make sure you’re using the GRID structure (or something similar) with every stakeholder you can access.
This way you can provide a unique overview back to the customer of the range of needs and different perspectives within their own organisation.
These insights are valuable to the customer and move you from being seen as a sales rep into a Trusted Advisor.
If you’d like any information on this or any other area of sales please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Found this post helpful? Take a look at how to make a strong sales presentation here.