We often talk about needs and understanding them, but all too often we forget that they are driven by interests. The average seller responds to needs, while the top seller acts on interests.
- There is always a mix of interests – both on customer and your side.
- Build on common and differing interests to solve conflicting ones.
- Finding out personal interests is easier on one-on-one conversation than in front of a group or during multi-person meetings.
- Asking directly surprisingly often works
- Notice that short-term interests can often be conflicting with long-term interests.
- Human nature (our brain) directs us to focus on short-term rather than long-term interests. If we reply on auto-pilot, we don’t consider the options between the two.
- Openly discussing the short-term/long-term interests helps
In mapping interests, the skill of asking questions is essential. Here are some good example questions:
- What do you see as common interests that we have?
- What are you being measured on?
- What is important to you regarding this matter/issue/service/problem?
- What do you expect to happen short term/long term?
- Sounds like there’s some differing/conflicting interests here. What do you think? (usually customer replies to this, but may ask you go first – be prepared to answer)