By CommenceCRM

Best Practice #50 – Regularly talks with customers about their needs

By Dave Kahle

“We need two cases of widgets.”

Here’s how the average salesperson responds to that request. “I have them in stock. It’ll be $300 each case.”

Ah, but the superstars have a different approach. “OK. Can I ask why you need those now?”

“Sure,” says the customer, “we got a new project from one of our customers, and these are going to be packaged with a couple of other things for the sample prototypes.”

“Oh, so your customer may decide to buy these on a regular basis?”

“Yep, if the prototypes work out.”

“And, you mentioned they were going to be packaged with a couple of other things. May I ask what those other things are?”

“Sure. We’re adding didgets and fidgets.”

“OK. Did you know that we also have didgets and fidgets available? And that we have a division that assembles custom packages for our customers. We could probably assemble those, and provide you the finished packages. That would save you assembly time, streamline your inventory, and simplify your ordering. Would you like a quote on what that would look like?”

Note the difference between the approach by the average salesperson, and the approach by the master. The average salesperson fielded a superficial question, provided superficial information, and thought he was doing a good job.

The superstar took the opportunity to dig deeper into the customer’s request, discovered a deeper opportunity, and then proposed a combination of products and services that met the customer’s deeper needs.

The average salesperson responded to a $600 opportunity. The superstar transformed that opportunity into a quote for considerably more money and that carried with it the advantage of becoming more important to the customer.

The average salesperson would have thought he was doing a good job by blissfully coasting right by a much deeper and larger opportunity. The superstar dug in and uncovered a bigger deal.

This kind of scenario happens every day, in every field of sales. The mass of salespeople are content with the superficial, while the masters use every opportunity to uncover deeper, more significant issues and then to make a bigger, more important proposal.

That’s one reason why they are masters.


Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written ten books, presented in 47 states and nine countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine. His most recent book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, has been named one of the “five best business books,” by three international entities.

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