Just One More Question (or Ten), If You Will, Please
In the previous chapter we explored the first few steps in the consultative selling process. We explained how having excellent problem solving skills can actually work against your ability to uncover customer needs. And we addressed the importance of positioning your meetings in order to set the stage for analyzing the client's situation.
But now it's time to investigate what is involved in truly understanding the customer's needs. Sales teams can leverage their resources very effectively when they attempt to understand their client's situation. When they work in sync and have their acts together, they can learn more than just their needs. They can uncover their customers' problems, aspirations, concerns, goals, objectives, issues, worries, and even their deepest fears. Sales teams must make it their mission to know as much about their customers as possible. That is a key component to their success.
When Sam Jamison's team was smack in the middle of pursuing that big job they later won, they had two memorable meetings. The first one was with the customer when Sam invited Heather, his product manager, and Jerry, his manufacturing specialist, to join him while he visited the customer shortly after receiving the RFP. It was early in the process and the meeting was positioned as exploratory in nature. While there, all three asked a ton of questions. They had prepared the customer for that, of course, so the meeting didn't turn ...