Identify customer needs


The main reason for customer failures is not identified needs. And the identification of needs is the main stage of sales. The seller asks a lot of questions and on the basis of the information received forms a proposal. But the possibility of such an approach does not always exist, and there is an alternative - methods of shaping the needs of the client, which will be discussed further.

For example, when there is no opportunity to ask questions to identify needs as such. An alternative to the classical approach is the formation of needs, to let the client know that these very needs exist.

Needs formation

All potential buyers have a need in one form or another, but customers do not always think about their satisfaction here and now. We illustrate with a simple example, having a place to be in reality. One employee of the mobile operator doubled his prize with a simple phrase:
"How long have you changed the batteries in the TV remote?"
By uttering this phrase to each client, the employee made big sales of the priority product and, as a result, an increase in the bonus ratio.
What's happened? For most visitors, this phrase was not clear and inappropriate. But some really wanted to buy batteries, but did not think that this could be done in the communication salon.
Or some imagined such a picture - you relax at home in the evening in front of the TV and suddenly you realize that batteries require replacement. What do you think in this situation? Need to stock up on batteries. And they offer you to insure against this petty trouble. In a word, the client did not have a clear need, but the seller was able to form it.

Why do I need it

Another example of the formation of customer needs. Cellular, visitor - an elderly woman who wants to buy a simple push-button phone. The client has a stable prejudice about smartphones - it is difficult, expensive and unnecessary. The benefit of the seller to sell instead of a simple dialer smartphone is obvious. But there is a benefit for the buyer. Regarding working with a woman - the seller persuaded to just watch one of the smartphones. From the device went on the Internet, turned on Skype and contacted a grandson who lived abroad. The client was simply delighted - she discovered the opportunity to communicate with her grandson, whom she saw at best once a year.

Offer an alternative

Regarding the formation of needs for the purchase of smartphones instead of push-button phones. Often customers come to sales offices looking for TV phones - devices with the ability to receive analog TV signals. Perhaps it was once interesting, but now hopelessly outdated. There is a feature that ensures the reorientation of the client to the purchase of a smartphone - to demonstrate the digital TV in the smartphone to the buyer. Convenient management and good picture quality. And if the buyer already has a need to watch television programs on the phone, then why not open him a better option.

What is the need to identify needs?

Many companies are taught to sell according to needs! But not so often explain why. On the one hand, everything is simple, the person decided to buy a TV - his need is a TV, and I will talk about TV. There is NO need for convenience and comfort in receiving information that the TV transmits (movies, programs, TV shows, talk shows, sports games, etc.). And if you deepen even more, of all these programs, he wants entertainment, emotions, new knowledge. That is, his motivation is much deeper than it seems. And I, as a consumer, will tell you that to watch the news and to watch football, you need completely different TVs. It is in order to help choose the right product that the seller must use to identify the customer’s needs.

This is when viewed from one side. But aside from this, each person is individual in terms of preferences in life, one spends all the money on fashionable and expensive phones, the other saves and postpones. And if one is driven by novelty and prestige, then the other is savings. And it would be foolish to offer them the same product.

Customer needs and requirements

Before delving into the technique identify customer needs, let's see what is the need? What are they like? Wikipedia comes to the rescue: Need, need - the internal state of the psychological or functional sense of the insufficiency of something, is manifested depending on the situational factors. In this definition, I like two phrases: “feelings of insufficiency” and “manifests itself depending on situational factors.” The need is just a sensation, that is, the value is not constant and the needs change depending on the situation. For example, a friend of mine traveled in China. During a visit to the provinces, he felt like a millionaire despite the poverty prevailing there. But when he arrived in Shanghai, he himself felt like a poor man after seeing a very high standard of living (skyscrapers, expensive cars, etc.). That is, the same person needs may vary. And if in the first case he did not feel the need for money because he was much richer than his surroundings, in the second case he felt a lack of his finances in relation to society.

For us, all of the above means that we can influence needs. Moreover, we can form them!

What are the needs

When it comes to needs, I immediately recall Maslow's pyramid of needs. It looks like this:

On the one hand, it is not applicable to sales, but if you think about it ... I will give an example that I learned from marketing. All progressive catering establishments specifically spread the smell around them, as it is a proven fact that the taste of food causes hunger. This proves once again that we can influence needs.

All the same for sales, I would not have shaped the needs like a pyramid. I will give the most basic needs list:

As a rule, customers are more or less interested in these needs. It is on them, as a rule, that media advertising puts pressure. And the seller at identifying customer needs must determine what a particular customer cares about to a large extent.

How to identify customer needs

It is on the one hand very simple. Ask him to tell, on the other hand, not all people will open it up to you and tell you everything you need. Questions are different:

  • open - they suggest a detailed response. Example: tell me how you spent your summer?
  • closed ones suggest a yes or no answer. Example: did you go on vacation in the summer?
  • alternatives are when you yourself offer answer choices. Did you rest or work in the summer?

Naturally, some customers and a closed question can give a detailed answer. But it is rather an exception. When identifying needs to effectively ask open-ended questions, as the client will give you more information.

In order to compose the necessary questions you need to understand the product and what the client needs from it. It is necessary to ask questions on the similarity "... for what purpose will you use?", "... what did you use before?", "... what would you like to see?", "... describe?", Etc. If there are difficulties, ask on our forum sellers, they will help.

The client must speak out

Why is it easier for us to become a psychologist? Because he listens to us! Unlike his wife, boss or children. The seller is a psychologist, he gives the customer a talk and listens to him carefully, nods and confirms, this is called the technique of active listening. When a client speaks out he will trust you much more and will listen to your presentation with pleasure.

Frequent errors in identifying customer needs

  • ask closed questions. The client begins to feel at the interrogation, not everyone likes it.
  • Do not finish to identify needs. Needs need to identify as much as needed. An experienced seller usually has 5-7 open questions and a few clarifying questions.
  • interrupt the identification of needs for the presentation, and then continue again. I often see u not experienced sellers.
  • interrupt the client. It is generally prohibited.
  • Sometimes the client goes to the side and starts the conversation "for life", this should be correctly stopped. Remember time is money.

Needs summary technique

The technique of summarizing has come to trade from progressive restaurants of the West. The waiter always pronounces the order in order to avoid mistakes and so that the client once again wonders if he ordered everything. As a result, this practice successfully caught on in sales. Summarizing is very convenient to use as a transition from identifying customer needs to product presentation.

So perhaps all for today. On the site worldsellers.ru you can find more articles on this topic as the sales steps are extensive and in one article they do not shrink. Then we will get acquainted with the next stage - the presentation of the goods to the buyer.

In conclusion, I recommend watching a small video about identifying needs.

I know better what suits you.

It so happens that the seller places emphasis and accents on those properties of the product, which in his own opinion seem significant to the customer. Those. the seller projects his own taste and opinion on the needs of the buyer.

But this is a mistake, because the tastes and opinions of the seller may not coincide with the real desires of the client, which had to be asked for, in order to present them correctly.

How can it look like in a real situation?

Imagine a home appliance store in which the seller communicates with an elderly couple on the subject of selling a TV. With foaming at the mouth, the “experienced” sales person talks about the diagonal of the screen, the functions “picture in picture” and the clock frequency of the miracle of the TV, driving the “unfortunate” pensioners into a deep trance with technical terms.

Instead of first asking a few simple questions and identifying real needs: “Which TV do you need?”, “What is most important for you in this purchase”, and “What are your requirements or wishes for the operation of the TV?”. Only on the basis of the responses of customers can something be offered, focusing on their needs, and not on their tastes.

Generalization or misuse of needs within one target group

Despite the fact that the needs of the target group may be similar, they cannot be generalized and use the same tactics of conducting conversations with each customer of this group. Now decipher this complex wording with a simple example.

Imagine the situation: the family (husband and wife, both 30-35 years old) came to the car dealership to buy a car. On the one hand, the spouses have a common need to purchase a car, but each of them has its own individual requirements, which can be completely different from each other.

For example, for a husband, the main thing is the functionality of the car (speed, gearbox type, suspension, etc.). For a spouse, the color of the car, the convenience inside the cabin, the presence of a large trunk in which the pram should easily fit, are important.

Catch differences in needs? It is impossible for the spouse to tell about the driving wheels of the car and about the fuel injection system. These are not her needs. And how to find out what worries her in a car? Right. Ask good questions to both spouses.

And based on their answers, pick up a car that would satisfy the needs of both the husband and the wife as much as possible. Or at least the one who makes a decision in the family about the purchase. And this may well be the spouse, despite the fact that the husband is the main earner of finances.

Everyone is interested in the same thing.

Sometimes the seller, guided by his own experience, comes to the conclusion that all his buyers are interested in the same thing. And he, instead of asking each client, immediately goes to the presentation, focusing on the basis of his own delusion.

For example, I just witnessed the work of the seller in the perfume shop when I was looking for a gift to my wife for my birthday. It should be noted that the shop was within walking distance from many work offices and the seller apparently knew some customers by sight.

So, I heard the seller say the following to a lady: “This perfume is the trend of the season. They all take. Only five minutes ago, your colleagues from the neighboring office bought the same from me. ” After this phrase, the lady turned and left.

You will ask why? Why should she smell just like her colleagues? A woman was looking for something special. That which would be beneficial to distinguish it from others, and not to unite with other women.

How much do you expect?

Even if the seller understands that you first need to ask the client, then there are common mistakes. For example, “How much do you expect?” Seems like a good question. But, having received the answer, the seller automatically gets a price level, above which he simply will not offer anything at the presentation stage.

Now remember, did you have situations when you planned to spend one amount, and spent more? I am sure that this has occurred in your life more than once. Why did this happen?

Because the value of what you received was much higher than the price you paid. Therefore, talking about the price is only after discussing the value of the product or service. After asking the client at the beginning of the conversation a budget question, the seller makes himself “hara-kiri”.

And it will not be able to motivate a client for a more expensive purchase, thereby cutting off the possible percentage of sales and premium. And you need it?

These were just a few typical mistakes that sellers make in the second stage. In fact, there are more mistakes, but then it will not be an article, but a whole longrid. Therefore, it is time to move on to the technical issues. For here, too, there are "pitfalls" about which I can not be silent.

And, if you think asking questions is easy, then listen to the story of one investigator who lost his career by asking just one wrong question.

It was a big deal that you probably heard. Remember the story of the loving incident of former US President Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky? I think, heard. So, the investigator asked: "Is it true that you, Mr. President, have had an affair with a certain Monica Lewinsky for ten months?"

“No, this is not true,” the president of the United States responded with a clear conscience. However, as we all know, the investigation proved the existence of a love affair. And then the president was told: “How could you lie under oath, because the fact of a love affair was proved?”.

“I told the truth,” Clinton said. “Since the statement about a love affair for ten months is not true. My novel lasted a whole year. ” This misstep in the question cost that investigator a whole career.

What was the mistake of the investigator, and how it was necessary to ask the right question, so as not to lose our place, let us analyze it right now.

Question typology

All questions can be divided into three groups: closed, open and alternative questions. How do each type of question differ? Closed questions always assume the answer is "yes" or "no." Did you have dinner today? Not! Do you want to eat? Yes!

The minus of closed questions is that you do not get a detailed answer. What is behind this “yes” or behind this “no”? You can guess up to the Japanese Easter. By the way, do you know when Japanese Easter? Yes, never!

That was the main mistake of the investigator. He asked a closed question and received an honest, but not revealing the answer. And it was necessary to use the open type of questions. Open questions differ from closed questions in that they always begin with a question word: how, what, how much, when, why, why, what, what for, where, etc.

The investigator should ask the President of the United States: "How many months did your love affair last?" And already in this answer, Clinton could not get out. The main plus of open-ended questions is that they give a detailed answer.

These are very good questions that make a person think. True, not everyone likes to think, especially deployed. But the bottom line is that when communicating with the client about his needs, try to ask more open questions.

This does not mean that closed questions do not need to be asked at all. Ask, but remember that they can create a sense of interrogation in a person. Closed questions are good at the stage of closing the transaction. When we get to the last stage, they will be there.

“Red or blue pill” - asked Morpheus to Neo, reveal the secrets of alternative questions

The third type of questions is alternative. They differ from the two previous types in that they always contain the union “or”. Will you pay in cash or by card? Alternative questions are good to use in several situations.

First, when a customer doubts what to answer, what to choose. And such a question tells a person a choice of two or more alternatives.

Secondly, these questions, as well as closed ones, can be used not only in time to identify customer needs, but also when closing a deal at the last stage of sales. I know a wonderful question, having asked which, it is possible to increase the average purchase check at once by seventy-five percent.

Want to know what this question is? Look for the answer in the last article in this series. А на сегодня, думаю, информации о выявлении потребностей достаточно. И, как сказала голограмма в одном голливудском фильме “Я робот” с Виллом Смитом в главной роли: Я в ответах ограничен, правильно задавай вопросы, детектив».

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