Written by Sean McPheat |
Many salespeople struggle to find the best way forward when they have to work with existing clients because they still put the emphasis on their own products and services.
The more successful salespeople spend their time identifying the real needs of the businesses they are working with and creating opportunities for them to advance their businesses.
This opens up chances to talk about their services in a much more beneficial way.
But what exactly are the main needs of the businesses you deal with?
Aren’t every business’s needs different?
Yes, they are, but there is a pattern, a composite list if you like, of similar needs and wants that link businesses together.
When you know these needs, you are able to to link the products and services you have with those needs and help companies to build their own customer base with your help.
What are these composite needs and how could you provide more help to businesses by using them?
Tony Robbins, one of my favorite speakers and coaches, speaks of six basic human needs.
They ,in essence, sum up everyone’s character and talks to us at the personality but also spiritual level.
We can also apply them to business needs too, and I’ve listed my take on these components below.
The first is the need for certainty.
As humans, we have an innate need to feel certain about things.
When we are certain about how things work and how others behave we can predict what will happen in the future and so feel safe.
When we are certain about others, we can trust them.
When we feel safe, we can relax and reduce our constant scanning for threats.
As businesses, we need to have some certainty about the future, the economy, the legislations we work to and that our suppliers will be able to provide us with the ideas and services we need to be productive and profitable.
As salespeople, we can provide that confidence by being consistent in keeping our promises to our clients, by showing our trustworthiness and by building strong relationships with the buyers of our products so they see they can have that confidence we will deliver when we say we will in the way we said we would and in the best time frame possible.
Next comes the need for variety.
This sound the opposite to certainty, and in a way it is.
While certainty is important, too much is boring.
We also want stimulation and novelty to add interest and fun to our lives.
This is why people try new things, take risks and gamble, even when they do not need to do so.
As businesses, we also want to offer variety in the way we do things for our customers, the services we offer and the products our customers experience.
Without that variety, we get staid and monotone.
Our competitors take over from us and we lose market share.
As salespeople, we can offer variety by changing the way we work with our buyers.
We need to stimulate their thinking and bring some kind of innovative thinking to way we work with them.
If we see different ways that we can market our products to clients we open up chances for this need for variety to be shown and demonstrated.
Thirdly, there’s the need for Significance.
We need meaning in our lives and want our lives to have purpose and direction.
We want to be important and for others to look up to us.
We may gain this in many different ways, from becoming well-qualified to being friendly and helping others.
As businesses, this significance is gained by becoming important in the specific market we operate in, creating new offers and showing our competitive nature in the products and services we offer.
Some show this in the way they define their businesses, others find a niche in the way they develop products and others may steal an advance by their price points.
Whatever way they do it, businesses strive to be significant among their competitors.
As salespeople, we can build on our client’s needs for significance by helping them increase market share for themselves, open new markets that didn’t exist for them previously and help them develop practices that work efficiently for their existing and future clients.
Next comes the need for Connection.
Without company, we easily get lonely.
We are social animals and connecting with other people is important for us. In this ways, we bond with others as we form friends and extend our sense of who we are.
Just as variety balances certainty, so outer connection with others balances the inner need for significance in ourselves.
As businesses, we need some connection with the outside world so they know how we can help.
No business can survive without that connection to outside markets.
It’s often said that you might have the best product in the world, but if it’s not marketed well, it’s next to useless.
As salespeople, we can assist our clients by creating opportunities for them to connect with their prospects and customers.
By going beyond the normal salesperson-client relationship, we increase our chances of being valuable to our buyers, as they see we help them to connect effectively to their market opportunities.
Those first four needs assist businesses at the ‘personality’ level, helping them to become a force in the market place by being recognised through their services and product quality.
The final two needs look at the spirit that the businesses can offer, those etherial qualities that often differentiate one business from another.
The next need is that of Growth.
Beyond fulfilling the previous needs, we want to learn and become more than we are.
For this purpose we study and want to develop our careers.
As a higher need, we can live without it and some people seek little in way of growth, while others are highly motivated to make something more of themselves.
As businesses, if we don’t grow, we stagnate and allow our competitors to take over our market.
Growth and development permeates the spirit of those companies who succeed and contribute to the success of others.
They seek suppliers that enable them to achieve their growth plans and allow them to become more dominant in their market place.
As salespeople, buyers welcome us if we create opportunities for their businesses to improve market share, increase productivity, improve quality or build profit opportunities.
We need to assist businesses in this key component on value-add, helping them see how your products will help them grow and achieve the goals that would make them successful in their and their customers’ eyes.
The last need is that of Contribution.
Combining growth and connection, contribution takes into account other people and the world at large.
If we are active in contributing to other individuals and groups, rather than just ‘belonging’, we increase our connection with them and it feel good as our sense of identity is expanded.
As businesses, we often want to go beyond just selling and providing products and services, and we want to feel we are contributing more to society in general.
Often business’s ‘sense of identity’ is tied to their contribution to the community, green issues, health and safety or similar.
This ‘contribution’ shows we care about things greater than profits and allows others to see us in a different, more favourable, light.
As salespeople, we can assist businesses in this need by providing chances for them to see how they can build community spirit, open their doors to the public to see their success in the community, or contribute in some way to their successful operations through their own services.
This build even more value in the buyer’s eyes as they see you’re not just in it to sell products; you really are interested in the success of the buyer’s company.
Each of these needs create an opportunity for us in sales to build relationships with clients, and take us away from being simply a supplier of products and services to being a really valuable asset in many ways to the buyer’s business.
They begin to see you as someone who has their needs in mind and allows you to open up more market opportunities, not just for current but also for new customers too.
Originally published: 2 December, 2016