Please see below a transcript of the article I wrote for MIM magazine in the UK
Q I heard my Manager stressing the importance of establishing “Needs and Wants”. How can this information be useful?
A When customers are looking for a new vehicle, they have 2 things that need to be satisfied to in order for them to buy a car. These are Needs and Wants. Needs are things/items the car must have, ands Wants are things/items the customer would like their new vehicle to have.
You have to be able to 100% satisfy the Needs. For example if a customer needs an automatic gearbox due to licence restrictions or for health reasons, you will never sell them a manual.
If your customers wants their car to have front fog lights, cruise control and heated seats, then the more of these you can satisfy, you incrementally increase the chances of the customer buying from you.
Generally speaking, customers will tell you their needs first and then move into high value wants (not pure needs but pretty essential) then into their standard wants.
In order to work out if something is a need or want, ask the customer how important the item is on a scale of 1-10. The higher the number, the more likely it is a need. Another way is to ask the question ”If I found a car that had everything you wanted, but didn’t have the Front Fog Lights, could you consider owning that car?”
By correctly establishing the difference between needs and wants, you have a chance to sell more cars.
Q My Manager is always saying don’t “Feature Dump” the customer. What does he mean?
A Features and benefits are the staple of the sales persons presentation. Quite simply Features are something that “is”, and customers like these. Benefits are what the Features “Do”, and this is where buying decisions get made. The same feature will do different things for different customers.
Our job is to make it easy for the customer to make a buying decision, so when you feature dump a customer; you are making them figure out the actual benefit of the item.
By using both features and benefits you will help the customer understand why your proposed solution is going to remove their problem/solve their pain.
If you recall, in earlier editions we talked about establishing the what’s and the why’s of the customers requirements, and this information now becomes crucially important during our presentation as we are able to present out product as the solution specifically to their needs.
For example, lets assume we established that our customer needs an Estate to carry his carpet samples to prospective customers. When we show the customer the luggage area, we would present it like this: “Remember earlier you said that you needed a large load area to fit all your samples in, can you see how the space afforded here would accommodate your samples comfortably.”
Another customer may have said they need an Estate as they have regular camping holidays in their tent, and need the space to fit in all their equipment. Same Feature, different Benefit.