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Anticipating Your Client’s Needs for Sales Success

July 10, 2014

One major goal of any company is to increase revenue. In order to achieve this goal efficiently and effectively, companies must constantly pay attention to the changing times and ever-growing needs of their clients. Anticipating the needs of clients is critical to the sales process by allowing you to adapt and evolve with the times.

A company that understands the needs of their clients and provides customer-focused services will be extremely successful in selling their products or services. Selling in today’s marketplace is about building successful, positive long-term relationships. And your ability to be successful is greatly impacted by your ability to create these relationships.

The secret to creating this success, according to Tim Connor in Sales Strategies of Six Figure Income Salespeople, is this: “Solving your prospects’ or clients’ problems is no longer an effective sales strategy. The successful salespeople in today’s marketplace and the marketplace of tomorrow will be creative problem creators. Effective salespeople will be ruthless in their pursuit of uncovering or creating an awareness of client problems that they weren’t even aware they had. They will think far ahead of their clients not just along with them.” One major skill in the process of anticipating your clients’ needs is to understand exactly what is the one thing that is creating challenges in their life. What is keeping them up at night? Once you have successfully determined that, and how to help them solve it, you will have created a loyal customer for life.

Being able to anticipate your clients’ needs begins before you ever contact the client. In today’s marketplace, before you ever schedule a meeting, learn the company inside and out. Look them up online through new searches, google searches on key areas of their business, their LinkedIn profile, websites, research their competition, etc. At this point you will be able to make certain assumptions about the company and plan your first conversation around this information. Be sure to plan your questions. The quality of information that you receive in the first meeting is directly related to the questions that you ask. Remember selling is not just about selling but about being able to anticipate the client’s need and provide a unique perspective and solution that helps them.

Now that you have done your research and formulated your conversation, it’s time to be a great listener. Instead of going in to position your products and services, this is the opportunity to create an arena for an exchange of ideas. Remember that there is usually more to the client’s story, so by asking open-ended questions, you can maximize discovery. By having the appropriate discovery questions you can begin to have a better understanding of the client’s needs and possibly uncover some unique challenges they weren’t even aware of. Armed with this information, you and the client are at a point where you can collectively begin constructing a path to a viable and sustainable solution.

In today’s marketplace, salespeople are constantly looking for ways to elevate their careers to a level that customers value, thus creating a successful career. By understanding a client’s needs, combined with anticipating their needs and challenges and actively creating solutions, salespeople will become more than just another vendor; instead they will position themselves as an invaluable strategic partner. As Karl Popper, one of the most influential 20th century philosophers of science, once eloquently stated: “All life is problem solving. I’ve often contended that the best leaders are the best problem solvers. They have the patience to step back and see the problem at hand through broadened observation, circular vision. They see around, beneath, and beyond the problem itself. They see well beyond the obvious. The most effective leaders approach problems through a lens of opportunity.”

-Gigi Bodwin, Sales Research Consultant