Marketing Automation Buyer's Guide

Improve Your Sales by Learning to Identify and Appeal to Any Customer

As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of articles written by industry thought leaders in maturing software categories—Paul Bramson, the CEO of The Paul Bramson Companies, outlines how companies can improve sales by identifying and appealing to their customers.

Effective communication is a fundamental skill in sales. This is not new or revolutionary information. Something that may very well be new to you is an approach that I deliver during SKOs and conduct during training workshops for sales professionals of all levels, and trust me; it ups their game immediately and supports their relationships both personally and professionally.

It is what I call Connecting Like A PRO which delves into a person’s underlying needs—the inherent motivators that live in each of us. When they are met or activated in a conversation, we are energized and ready to act. Conversely, when they are not met or, worse, tweaked in some way, we may shut down altogether and disengage from the conversation.

To truly connect with customers, resonate with them, and improve sales, it is essential to identify their underlying needs and communicate in a way that resonates with them because you’re appealing to their inherent needs. By identifying and understanding potential clients’ underlying needs, you can improve sales and connect to your client on a deeper level. 

Building Awareness

Before one can understand someone else’s underlying, you need to do two things: 

  1. Understand what underlying needs are.
  2. Understand your own underlying needs.

Underlying needs are at the core of our personality. They drive us, inform how we prefer to receive information, influencing how we interact with others. Each of us has a dominant need that, when met, makes us happy and motivated, and energized. If our needs are unmet, our behavior changes as we either try to get that need met or shut down. 

Next, you need to identify what your underlying need is. Start by thinking about how you move through your day. How do you approach the world or take in information? For example, think about if you prefer structure or a loose schedule. Are you a rule follower or a rule maker/breaker? 

Take a moment to evaluate the significance of your brand and image to you. Explore your thoughts on receiving recognition, consider your drive for self-improvement, and reflect on the importance of popularity and being liked. The other side of this exploration is to think about what frustrates you. What “rubs you the wrong way” in a conversation or situation? This could be an underlying need that is not being met or is being tweaked in some way.

As you think through the above and how you show up in any situation or conversation or face a challenge, you start to understand what motivates you, what gives you energy, and what turns you off. This work builds awareness around what your underlying needs are. When you are aware of what drives you, you can adjust your communication style to get your needs met and respond appropriately when they are not met. 

The Power of Understanding Your Customers

Once you’ve determined what matters to you and what resonates with you, you can start to identify and understand others’ underlying needs. This is a bit easier when they match your own, but even if they don’t, you have tools and ways to identify what someone else’s is during a conversation. 

How do you identify others’ needs? Sometimes, you can recognize someone’s underlying needs in the first few moments of a conversation. What language or words are they using? What do you say or do that lights them up and gets them excited or animated? Did you say something that shut them down? These can be clues to what drives another person. Similarly, knowing someone’s interests outside of a work setting can give you clues into what motivates them. 

As mentioned above, when you understand your inherent needs and those of others, you can adjust during a conversation to meet someone’s needs or to get yours met. You can also pivot more adeptly when a conversation is not going well to meet someone else’s needs or respond accordingly if yours are being tweaked. When you approach conversations with this lens, you engage with individuals on a personal level, building rapport. This type of engagement makes sales conversations far more personal and productive overall. 

Building Rapport and Relationships Through Authenticity

While adapting and tailoring your communication style to the customer’s needs is crucial, authenticity should never be compromised. Authenticity forms the foundation of trust, and customers are more likely to engage with sales professionals who are genuine, transparent, and vulnerable. Authenticity ensures that the connection established is sincere and sustainable.

The Art of Successful Communication

Successful communication involves active listening, transparency, and adaptability. Actively listening to customers’ concerns, desires, and challenges allows you to gain deeper insights into business opportunities and their underlying needs. By genuinely engaging and seeing their perspective, you can provide tailored solutions and effectively address their challenges or pain points.

Adaptability (or pivoting) is adjusting your approach to respond to the customers’ needs and preferences. When you can recognize their communication style based on their inherent need, you can pivot at the moment to meet them on their level. Adapting your communication to align with their underlying needs ensures that the connection remains strong throughout the sales process.

Understanding the customer’s underlying needs is a vital skill for successful sales professionals looking to improve sales efforts. By recognizing that each person has their own unique driving force, you can tailor your communication to resonate with potential clients on a much deeper level. Remember, communication is all about establishing a connection, and understanding people is the gateway to unlocking sales success.


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