Man in Yellow Hoodie Jacket Ordering to a Waitress Through Sign Language

How can you uncover hidden need all the time?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

A recent study showed that 75% to 80% of customers purchased only what they initially set out to buy. What if there was a really simple way to uncover a customers hidden additional need? and you could use this to help you customer uncover their need themselves?

My watch kept stopping. I assumed the battery needed replacing so I walked into one

Jewellery Store
Jewellery Store

of the best-known jewellers in Australia to get a battery fitted. I handed my watch over to the sales assistant and asked them to replace the battery.

I am sorry,” the assistant said “but we do not sell this brand, so we can’t put in a new battery.”

I was stunned! I reminded the assistant that this was where I had purchased batteries before.

Well, this watch is waterproof, and we can not guarantee it will still be waterproof after we open it

This assistant was really annoying and definitely trying to avoid making a sale. I needed a battery so I persisted with one more attempt.

I know you can not guarantee the waterproofing, you said that when you replaced the battery here last time.”

I am sorry, but we probably do not have the battery in stock …”

I was angry. I stormed out and went to the jewellers a few shops down and handed over my watch.

No problems, let me have a look,” the assistant said.

After a few moments, the jeweller came out with a battery tester and showed me the battery was fine. We discussed what the problems might have been with the watch that stopped it working from time to time. He asked a few questions and …

Guess who purchased a brand new watch! (They had uncovered my hidden need)

This sales assistant had;

  • Established rapport
  • Differentiated themselves from their competitor, and
  • Helped me discover I needed a new watch.

But what had they done differently?

They had listened and established rapport by taking an interest, engaging my emotional buying style, asked questions and listened. In just a few minutes they had me agreeing I needed a new watch and were on the way to closing the opportunity.

The first jeweller was only interested in selling something in their catalogue. The second jeweller took the time to test the battery (no cost), and then asked some simple questions (also no cost). I felt like they cared for me and I trusted them. They helped me discover I needed a new watch, so when I had a look at a couple of options, and listened to their recommendation, I acted on it.

Chip Bell said “Effective questioning brings insight, which fuels curiosity, which cultivates wisdom.” Effective questioning helps your customer uncover their own need. By helping your customer uncover their own need you also create a powerful emotional reaction and driver for action.

Industrial Example

Say you sell industrial heating elements and call to find out if a manufacturing company is interested in using your product. Rather than asking when they plan to buy more (you just know you will have the lowest price!) ask something like “How often do you change the heating elements in your gas turbine?”

This simple question tells you if there is a problem with the life expectancy of current heating elements. You know one key feature of your product is its long life and by planning this question in advance you will also have the follow-up questions ready to help your customer discover they need your product. With this small piece of information you can ask for an appointment to show them how you helped another company reduce the number plant shutdowns by using your heating elements.

Of course, by the time this meeting is done your prospect has ‘discovered’ they have an unrecognised need for long life heating elements and the lowest price is no longer an issue!

Today’s question and Actions

Take your product or service and ask yourself “what problems could my product solve?”

  • Be creative and outrageous. Don’t stop until you have a full page of ideas. Do this with a colleague or ask someone to help if you get stuck.
  • Distill this down to a list of five key problems.
  • For each problem create a question designed to help your prospect discover hidden problems.

Try these question with everyone you visit this week. You will be surprised how many new opportunities you prospects will reveal to you even they did not know existed.

Have a great week.

Exceptional Sales Performance

P.S. More inspiration on our BLOG here.

Reprint permission

Permission is granted to reprint this article with the condition it is republished unedited and in full with full attribution to the author and the authors bio. Please provide a link to the reprint to the following email;

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top