Is Anybody Listening?
In Chapter 12 we discussed needs. We defined what a need is, we looked at different kinds of needs, we discussed the different ways customers express their needs, and we distinguished between needs and solutions. We also made a few suggestions about how sales teams can collaborate to clearly capture the needs of the customer.
Needs, needs, needs. You are probably tiring of hearing the word. Well it's not over yet. Not by a long shot. Understanding them is the key to consultative selling and is a major component of innovative team selling. You can ask the best questions in the history of the world, resulting in the customer talking at length about their needs, but if you don't hear what they say, it's a big waste of time.
Let's look at Figure 13.1, which shows the four steps in situation analysis one more time.
The first two steps focus on questioning. The next two are all about listening. We preached about the importance of questioning and the role sales teams can play in asking questions. But many people will say that listening is every bit as important. And they have a point. Why put the time and energy into questioning if you don't hear the answers? And, sadly, everyone misses much of what clients say all the time.
If questioning is the ying, listening is the yang. You can't have one without the other. ...