Ray Collis

Strategies For Identifying Hidden Requirements

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You have read the buyer’s requirements.  At first they appear thorough and detailed, but what has been left out? What hasn’t the buyer said that you need to know?
Uncovering hidden requirements

Here are some strategies you can employ to powerfully connect with the buyer’s hidden agenda.  That is the ‘un-written’ buyer requirements and their more fundamental underlying motivations that can make the difference between sales success and failure.

1. Keep Asking ‘Why?’

Focus relentlessly on the ‘why?’ of the decision? For every requirement identified by the customer ask; ‘why?’

For example the software language used is important to you, can I ask why? The prospect says there is a need for inter-operability. The salesperson asks ‘why is that particularly important to you?’

The prospect says because in the past systems have been implemented that don’t talk to each other. The sales person asks ‘why has that happened in the past?’

The prospect answers because IT have their own way of doing things and suddenly a glimpse into the hidden agenda between stakeholders starts to be illuminated.

2. Build Trust – Show Empathy

The seller needs to make a special effort to uncover the buyer’s underlying motivations. They won’t be found in secondary research an business library reports. They only emerge in personal communication within an environment of trust.

The buyer’s core underlying motivations may not be uncovered by fact-finds, or interrogative techniques. Understanding what really makes somebody tick requires an element of empathy, as well as the ability to see the situation from the buyer’s perspective.It requires some of the skills of a counsellor or shrink.

Empathy and the ability to step into the buyer’s shows is a key skill required to connect with the buyer’s hidden agenda.


3. Make It Personal!

Even when we sell to large corporations there can be a very personal dimension to the sale.  Even for the logical pragmatic and economic business decision, there is often an emotional agenda what is being bought is something that:

  • The buyer cares about
  • The buyer identifies personally with it
  • Their ego is bound up with the outcome
  • Matters to how he-she is seen or evaluated by others
  • Involves personal professional risk or reward.

The seller must make it personal and connect with the buyers sense of self – his or her self image and self concept.

The list of strategies continues on the next page…

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