NOTE: How to Assist Clients in Understanding Their NEED for Your Solution

In my previous post, Take NOTE: BANT is for Sellers, NOTE is for Buyers, I shared the new discovery call template, NOTE. You should read that piece before proceeding – it will provide you the context you need to fully appreciate the first step outlined in this article. NOTE was designed for modern buyer-seller interactions and as a replacement for the outdated BANT. The first step in NOTE is NEED. In this step, your role as a salesperson is to help the prospect uncover if they truly need the product or service you provide.

KiteDesk NOTE Methodology

How to prepare yourself to complete the NEED Stage of Qualification

You should clear your mind of any selfish thoughts about “selling them something” or “convincing them they need your product.” Instead, focus all your attention on one thing:

Trying to truly understand if what you sell can help the person with whom you are speaking.

During this stage, you shouldn’t even mention your product. Instead, simply listen, learn and remove any judgment you may be tempted to place on the buyer’s answers.

What you are looking to learn from the prospect during the NEED Stage

Since the discovery call is usually the first conversation you have with a prospect, often they haven’t thought through their challenges completely. This is very common, but doesn’t mean you immediately have to end the call and reschedule it when they are better prepared. What you want to do is guide them through thinking about “the WHY” in “Why are we talking today?” What I mean by this is, 1) they agreed to schedule the call, so something is on their mind; 2) they might not know exactly what isn’t going quite the way it should, but typically they have a hunch that things could be better; 3) it’s your job to find that “what could be better piece.”


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To assist you in pinpointing a NEED, here are some general examples:

  1. A goal that they are trying to attain
  2. A problem they are trying to solve
  3. A frustration that they have – where they know there is a better way
  4. In some cases, you may have to help them see a need that they didn’t know existed (this situation usually occurs when you are selling for an innovative company)

Often in the NEED Stage, salespeople mistakenly think that an interest is a need – it is not. You can identify an interest when the prospect says something like, “I’m looking for a widget that does this…” or “I am looking for software that has these features.” Neither of those are NEEDs, and when you hear them it’s a red flag that you need to dig deeper.

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Here are some examples of Red Flags, you will encounter in this process:

  1. We are looking for a product or service that does x
  2. I’ve been asked to investigate this
  3. When the person can’t articulate a specific challenge that they are trying to solve
  4. Everything is great. I was just curious as to what you do

When you encounter prospects that seem to be looking for something but can’t quite make sense of why – that is when you can add real value to them. I call this part “DOES FOR” – what this means is – instead of talking with them about what your product or services does – you need to get them thinking what THEY want the product to “DO FOR” them. What results should it produce? What changes should it make? How will their team get better, through using it? The answers to these questions are all NEEDs.

Here are some specific examples of NEEDs:

  • The need to grow sales pipeline
  • The need to decrease their time to hire new employees
  • The need to reduce their IT security risks
  • The need to increase the quality of their leads
  • The need to reduce their accounts receivable
  • The need to increase their Net Promoter Score

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Why is establishing a NEED so important?

CSO Insights research tells us that roughly 24% of all deals are lost to “No Decision.” As a salesperson, that number should horrify you. You should see it as a huge warning sign that something is broken in the buyer-seller equation. My experience tells me that many deals die, because there really wasn’t any need in the first place – or at least not enough need to switch from the status quo.

So it is in your best interest to find this out, right out of the gate, to avoid wasting both your time and the buyers. In addition to the “No Decision” reasoning – as a rep, one of your goals should ultimately be to help buyers make an informed decision as quickly as possible – which is something I learned from Andy Paul.

Here are my TOP 5 reasons as to why establishing NEED is so important:

  1. Without a need there is no reason for anyone to buy
  2. A need helps you quickly determine if there is a fit
  3. A need provides justification for a purchase
  4. A need puts buyer and seller on the same side of the table
  5. Helping prospects think through if a need exists – is valuable to them and will help differentiate you from the pack

How to establish need

To help my team at KiteDesk learn how to run a NOTE call, I personally role-play with them. I show them how, no matter what a prospect says to you, you can turn their answers towards a NEED to keep focused. This is an important skill to learn since every call you have is different, and being able to think on the fly about how to drive towards a need takes some time.

To make it easier for you, here are some example questions, you can use to determine a NEED:

  1. When you think about your business in relationship to our product, what measurable impact do you expect?
  2. Say you buy our product – how will you measure if it generates the results you expect?
  3. Instead of thinking about what our product does – what do you expect our product will do for you – what results do you expect?
  4. What’s the personal impact you’d like to see from our work together?
  5. Typically, our clients get the following results from our product (list them out). Based on these descriptions what, if any, seem to fit the needs you have and why?

Once you have a defined need, then we suggest you tell the client just that. Tell them point blank with no hesitation, “we can help you.”

See if they are in agreement. And, if they are, then it’s time for the next step…understanding if the NEED is a large enough Opportunity (Stage 2) to pursue. Stay tuned!


Photo credits Jennifer BurkShirly Niv MartonJustin Luebke