Research and explore to find out your buyer’s hidden need

“Research and explore to get close to the need with the focus of a rifle than hope for the best with the pellets from a shotgun”

The umbrellas are on sale in the streets. With the chronic blackouts lately, lanterns and emergency lights are too. Hawkers seem to always have just what you need. And the operative word here is need. Need supersedes reason; need is so strong it creates cravings which beat want hands down. You see, need is a basic instinct. And the challenge of the seller is to create or demonstrate need to the buyer. It is the consummate seller who can create or demonstrate a craving for his product or service. It is the failure to do this that many sales interviews miscarry.

Needs must be drawn out

Needs differ across individuals and cadre and are rarely as overt as the need for umbrellas because it is pouring or lights because of blackouts. In more complex sales needs must be drawn out. And why? Because, buyers, being human will rarely come out and say what they want. When a travel agent asks you what your budget is, you will most likely respond with, “Just show me what you have first” or “I’m still planning so I first need to know what’s out there” or, such other vague response which will reveal everything but your budget.

And why? Because you fear you may be seen as cheap, or, you fear you may open yourself up to being overpriced. It would be so much easier if buyers just stated what they want, yes? No! In truth, it’s even more complicated; many times buyers don’t know what they need or are driven more by want than need. White elephants are born of this. And ladies, that matching set of cutlery lying unused and bought out of the feeding frenzy of a sales offer is yet another example.

Research and explore

What to do then? Research and Explore. With the flooding from the pouring rain, South C has been hardest hit and is the butt of social media jokes with the C being referred to as Sea. This information is easily accessible and requires little research-the kind the website of a company you plan to visit can give you. Possibly not so, is the fact that the Kenya Power substation on Mombasa Road was flooded and South C and its environs have been experiencing chronic blackouts for over a week. This is the kind of research which may require you to browse the net, get from the newspaper or from a friend or client.

Research and explore

Whereas not all residents in South C work on Mombasa Road, almost all of them use Mombasa Road. This simple research will inform the progressive hawker to strategically position himself to address a need. He will therefore station himself with his emergency lights on Mombasa Road. As opposed to umbrellas which can be found all over. Progressive sellers of IT software, invited to display their iPads will find out what they are meant for and demonstrate meeting that need in their presentation.

Explore through focused questions

Travel agents who explore with questions like, “Do you prefer the beach or bush?” or “Is the holiday a special occasion?” or “What activities do you want to engage in while on holiday?” are more likely to wisely extract a need than those who don’t. For sellers of water sanitation or lifts, asking how many apartments the development will have, will more likely draw a clearer picture of the need than, “So, how big is the project?” would. Research and explore to get close to the need with the focus of a rifle than hope for the best with the pellets from a shotgun.

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