Needs based selling, or consultative selling is quickly becoming one of the most valuable tools in the sales landscape. In a world where your customers have endless options for where to purchase, and who to purchase from, you need something special to convince them you’re the right choice.
Needs-based selling, by focusing on the specific requirements of your customers, is an excellent way to tailor your pitch specifically to the requirements of your customer.
Sometimes referred to as “consultative selling”, thanks to its focus on asking questions, needs-based selling is an information-focused sales approach. The process revolves around getting to know the specific pain points and requirements of your customers through careful investigation and listening.
Once you’ve developed an understanding of your customer’s goals, you position your product or service as a solution to those specific needs. The approach is an alternative to transactional selling, where a professional merely suggests a solution without knowing the background of the customer.
In recent years, needs-based selling has become more popular as competition in the sales landscape has increased. Customers are increasingly searching for businesses who understand their specific needs and expectations.
Needs-based selling is all about getting to know your audience, and adapting your sales pitch to suit each individual customer. You may use needs-based segmentation to arrange your target audience into different groups based on the needs you know they have.
For instance, if you’re selling software to businesses, you might adjust your sales pitch to the requirements of small, mid-sized, and larger companies.
An example of needs-based selling might include a consultative approach to selling a car. Rather than just suggesting a vehicle to a customer at random, the sales professional would speak to the customer, ask about their requirements and budgets, then present the vehicle most suited to those needs.
Needs-based selling not only improves your chances of a conversion, it can also encourage a positive reputation for the brand, by positioning your company as one that cares about its customers.
Needs-based selling might seem complicated, but it’s often a lot simpler than most people realize. For the most part, the process relies heavily on your ability to research and connect with your customer.
To successfully sell to a customer based on need, you’ll need to:
Start by building the foundations of a relationship with your customer. Doing your research before the sales conversation can be helpful here, as it helps to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what your client might be concerned about. You can use needs-based segmentation as a way to define the initial questions you’re going to ask.
When you connect with your customer, focus on building a relationship, demonstrating your knowledge of them and their brand, and getting the conversation flowing. This will make the client more susceptible to answering questions.
Questions are at the core of consultative selling. To fully understand your customer’s need, you’ll need to ask the right questions. Once your customer is comfortable with you, start talking about their potential needs, concerns, and pain points. Questions might include:
Don’t just assume you understand what your customer is telling you. Repeat what they’ve shared with you and summarize what you understand from the conversation.
For instance, if a customer says they haven’t solved an issue with their business so far due to budget constraints, you could ask them if nothing on the market is affordable for them, or if they haven’t found something that delivers the right value.
Once you’ve determined what the problem actually is for your customer, and what’s held them back so far, you can suggest your solution as the perfect answer to their problems. Help them to visualize the benefits they’re going to achieve from your product or service by connecting it to their goals.
For instance, if they’re concerned about the time they’ve been losing with their current software, highlight how your software helps clients reduce the time taken to completed tasks by 25%.
Needs-based selling is similar to any other sales tactic. The more you practice the strategy, the more effective you’ll become. While you’re working on your skills, try the following tips:
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