Salespeople know that they’re supposed to sell to the customer’s needs. Here is the classic-and tragically wrong-way they usually learn to do it: Uncover the first need. Begin a product presentation, covering features and benefits, and then attempt to uncover another need and then give more product talk, etc.

Research shows that presentations like this are 25 percent less effective than those in which a thorough needs assessment is followed by a summary of all of the customer’s needs. You will be far more successful if you begin by uncovering and agreeing on at least three relevant needs that the customer perceives as important. Only then should you begin a product presentation tailored to address those needs.

Never present your product until you have agreed on at least three important and relevant needs.

Here’s how to do that…