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The Importance of a Client Needs Analysis, Writing Presentations, and Closing the Sale

September 12, 2013

Why a Client Needs Analysis?

While it is important to provide the prospective client with as much information as you can, it is also important to find out as much as possible about their business. The best way to do this is by conducting a Client Needs Analysis. The basis for conducting the client needs analysis is simply to identify the client’s needs and objectives. It will also give you and the client the opportunity to brainstorm and create a plan or strategy that the client can clearly see will take care of their needs and objectives.

The key is to strategize and present this information in a way that addresses their questions and concerns before you ask for their business. Remember to be enthusiastic, ask questions, and take extensive notes. This will be helpful in your next step of creating an effective and efficient proposal. Below are some typical questions that should be asked during a client needs analysis. Some are standard but others should be tailored with that prospect’s business in mind. For example:

  • Company: How long have you been in business? How did you get started?
  • Products/Services: Do you consider your products to be average quality? High-end? Low-end? Anything you consider your specialty?
  • Customers: Who are your current customers (i.e., gender, age, income)? Who would you like your customers to be?
  • Competition: Who are your biggest competitors? Why do people shop there? What are their primary advantages?
  • Objectives: What is your primary business image (i.e., low price, large inventory, service)? Could you describe your single biggest sales and marketing challenge?
  • Advertising: What media do you currently use? Which do you use most often? What do you like best and least about your most often used media?
  • Wrap-up: Are there any other areas we should discuss before I begin to prepare some detailed analysis and recommendations based on today’s meeting? I’ll have research recommendations ready for your review on (date). Can we meet at (time) to discuss my findings?

The Importance of Writing Proposals/Presentations

Now that you have gotten your prospect’s attention and have set up a follow-up meeting, it is time to put together your proposal. Proposals are one of the strongest tools in your marketing arsenal. The proposal is a front-line sales piece. It’s likely to have more impact than anything that you can provide to your client because the proposal has been customized with a focus on what the client needs. Most of the information you will need to create an outstanding proposal will be found in the client needs analysis that you previously conducted. However, additional research will be needed on your part to fill in the gaps and questions that the prospective client may have on how to overcome their industry’s challenges. The main points to include in the proposal are:

  • Identify the prospect’s objections.
  • Provide solutions on how, as a team, we can overcome these objections.
  • Obtain good solid and logical research on consumer habits and industry facts.
  • Provide summary and investment schedules.

Closing the Sale

At this point you have gotten the appointment, done your research, and presented your proposal. Now it is time to close the deal. However, it not as simple as it sounds. It is possible that you may run into objections from the potential client. With this in mind, you must be prepared to respond with ample ammunition at a moment’s notice. If a client gets back to you with a negative response, look at it as an opportunity to acknowledge their concerns, clarify why they feel the way that they do, let them know that you understand their position, review and reinforce the key components of your proposal, and finally ask for the order. As a professional sales person, you must believe that you can satisfy the client’s needs. You must see the benefits, features, and limitations of your product or service from your client’s view; furthermore, you must weigh things on the client’s scale of values, not just that of the radio station. You must also realize what is important to your client.  In short, your client must always be the star of the show.

-Nicole Somerville, Sales Research Consultant