To provide value, sellers must first identify a need. Pretty much, everybody knows that! The difficult part is transitioning the conversation into needs development.
For example, suppose a customer says, “Tell me about your company and product.” Although it happens quite frequently, it’s a mistake for a salesperson to respond by saying, “First, I’d like to ask you some questions.”
This response creates a logic problem, where the customer wants the conversation to go in one direction, yet the salesperson responds, essentially by saying, “I rather pursue my own agenda.”
The easiest and best way to transition a conversation into needs development is as follows:
Customer: “Tell me about your company and product.”
Salesperson: “I’d be happy to. Can I ask you a couple specifics about your project so I can give you the most relevant and accurate information?”
Once someone gives you permission (a mini-invitation) to ask them questions, instead of running the risk of sounding self-serving, asking “a couple specifics” is now exactly what they want you to do. Also, note that when someone gives you permission to ask them questions, you get more information that is more in-depth and more accurate.