Many sales organizations have gotten comfortable with the idea of a needs assessment. As part of a discovery call, this focuses on identifying and qualifying that the prospect indeed has a need that can be filled by your product or service.

Unfortunately, in an honest effort to assess & qualify need, most sales reps ask very tactical questions. These questions focus too closely on what the prospect is doing today to solve the problem, why their current solution doesn’t work, and so forth.

These aren’t necessarily bad questions. Problem is, you might get the right answers but still have the prospect in a “nice to have” situation. Just because their current solution isn’t working, for example, doesn’t mean they’re interested in making a change. If solving that particular problem is low on their priority list, or isn’t seen as especially material to hitting their ultimate business goals, they might not be compelled enough to make a move.

That’s why, in needs discovery, you need to ask aspirational questions. Get right to the root of their core business objectives, and their primary challenges and obstacles to hitting those goals. Find the objectives and priorities the prospect is thinking about, all day long.

If you can tie your product or service to those objectives, you’re getting somewhere.

For each customer or prospect group, what are the 2-3 common objectives or challenges they have? How would you crisply and succinctly connect & communicate your value proposition tied to those objectives and challenges?

This is the line of questioning your needs assessment must follow. It will quickly eliminate some prospects from your pipeline, but accelerate implied interest, qualification and urgency with others.