Sales Tips: Meeting Changing Needs

sales tips

A competitor changes one of your prospect’s needs by providing a product with a capability your solution doesn’t possess. That’s right. It’s something the prospect now says they want. And there’s nothing on the horizon with your R&D department that allows that capability soon. Oh yes, things do change. For some, there’s nothing worse than a competitor who changes the playing field by convincing a customer they need something you may never have. But never fear, we have some sales tips for you!

Sales Tips 1: Take a deep breath and relax.

There are a lot of things in a sale that can change. But this is one of the ones I am less concerned about. Some might panic, but not me. More times than not, a changing need, even if it’s associated with the capability you’ll never have, just isn’t that big of a deal. You want to know why? There is a significant difference between a buyer’s need and the criteria by which they will determine which solution is best. I am far more concerned about changing criteria than changing needs.

Sales Tips 2: Let’s examine what is really happening when a customer expresses a need.

When they say they want or need something, it is always fear-based. What I mean by this is that they fear if the need isn’t met, they will experience a negative impact. This can be in terms of their productivity, efficiency, image, revenue, and expenses, etc.

Let’s say as an example, a buyer says they need local service. The requirement for local service is likely based on a fear that, if service isn’t local, it will take longer to get it. If service takes longer to get and what they bought is inoperable, they fear a loss of productivity, efficiency, and revenue, among other things. The requirement for local service is to ease the fear. If the service is local, surely it will be faster. Ah, now I won’t be as afraid.

Want a really valuable sales tip? What I’m submitting is that every single need stated by the customer is based on that same type of fear. If the need isn’t met, they believe they will experience a negative impact.

So let’s use this as an example of a situation where a competitor changes your prospect’s needs by convincing them they need local service. Just to prove the point, let’s say your company doesn’t have a service facility in the local area. I submit to you that you are in no worse shape than the other three companies competing for the business that has local service facilities.

Sales Tips

Want to know what to do?

Understand what the buyer wants a local service organization to do. I promise you it’s not that they just want technicians or service people in the same city. They want them to do something, like resolve their issues quickly. If there are multiple organizations that are local, that doesn’t mean that those organizations have met the customer’s needs. Faster resolution to their problems is the issue. That also goes for companies that aren’t local. So was the actual need ‘local service’, or was the need fast resolution of problems?

I promise you that if a service organization that had no local presence could prove through whatever means they fix problems faster, they can and will beat the local service organizations even if the customer clearly stated that local service was a need.

The same goes for product capabilities. What do they actually want the capability to do? What negative impact do they fear if they don’t have that capability? If you can find a way to have a greater impact on the fear, it doesn’t matter whether or not you have the capability. The customer just wants to make certain that they are maximizing the opportunity to avoid negative impact.

Sales Tips 3: Don’t let their fear become your fear.

So remember, even though you can’t meet a particular need, relax. DON’T FEAR when a competitor changes what the buyer says they want. Don’t try to avoid or eliminate the need. Eliminate the fear. Do a better job at that. You’ll win more often than not.

About Bob Nicols Founder AXIOM Sales Kinetics, Inc.

Bob Nicols has 34 years of experience in sales, sales management, executive management, and sales force development. He founded Burton Training Group, now AXIOM Sales Kinetics, in 1990 after being a top and highly recognized performer in sales, sales management, and executive positions within the technology sector. He managed and mentored thousands of salespeople, sales managers, and senior managers and been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.

For more than twenty years, AXIOM Sales Kinetics has been elevating the sales profession by transforming the way sales organizations engage with customers and sales managers lead and coach. AXIOM Sales Kinetics clients enjoy unique solutions that combine sales training, sales process, and methodology supported through integrated software solutions built on the Salesforce Platform. AXIOM Sales Kinetics provides implementation and consulting services that deliver exceptional results including improved customer satisfaction, increased revenue and margins, and lower customer and sales team churn. For more information on how AXIOM Sales Kinetics can help you build a world-class sales organization, visit our homepage.

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