How To Differentiate Between What The Customer Wants & Needs

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Smiling lawyer, realtor or financial advisor handshaking young couple thanking for advice

In conversations with salespeople, we sometimes ask if they know the differences between prospects’ needs and prospects’ wants.

It may sound pedantic, but it can make a real difference in presenting solutions.

Oftentimes, prospects will confuse their wants with their needs and vice versa.

Their needs often revolve around the business; their wants often revolve around their personal gains. So, it’s important to identify needs and wants when it comes to deciding on which direction you will go with the prospect.

For example, they may say that they want a bigger discount from you.

You need to determine the reason for this. Just because your competitor is offering a higher discount, or is cheaper than you’re offering, is not a valid reason, or a need.

You need to be absolutely clear on what the rationale is they are using to request this. You must identify if this is a customer need or want.

It could be they are simply being greedy. Or they have to justify the price they are paying to your boss.

Or (and this could be the main need) they have to make more revenue and think that getting a bigger discount from you will help them achieve that.

This is why it’s necessary to understand the difference between need and wants.
Basically, a need is something that solves a real or imagined problem. A want is simply something that would be nice to have. So, here you have recognised that the real need is to increase revenue, and they want you to increase discounts in order to achieve that end goal, or need. Understanding the customer’s need is not the same as understanding the want.

It may be possible, then, for them to increase their revenue by selling more of your products, and identifying how their business operations can be adjusted to accomplish this could be a way forward.

It entails being a consultant to their business, rather than a salesperson of goods and services.

But it offers a level of service that other competitors may not have offered before.
A need, then, outweighs a want in its achieving of business goals. Can you see why it’s necessary to differentiate and understand need and wants?

Determining how you can uncover those needs creates a closer relationship and identifies a stronger force in the decision-making process.

Some people have fears about what will happen in their business if they don’t achieve their goals.

By helping them move away from those situations, you lessen the fears and help them build confidence.

Others have opportunities to achieve goals and they need help to move towards them.
This is a chance for you to discuss the gains they would get from your products and services.

Either way, by uncovering a real need, the door starts to open toward making a decision that will ultimately help them attain their needs and their wants.

That will help them improve their businesses and they’ll thank you for supporting them in that achievement.

Want to learn more? Then why not book a sale training course with MTD. Here’s a useful webinar on unearthing needs and wants. 

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Sales DNA

Originally published: 7 May, 2019