You’ve gotten the customers involved in a thorough discussion of their needs. You completely understand everything you need to know in order to present exactly how your products and services can help them. You make your presentation with energy and understanding… and get less than the reaction you expected that you had earned. What happened? How could you have been so far off the mark?

We all know that we need to understand the customers’ needs before we try to sell anything. Still, we too often find ourselves presenting to deaf ears, or we find that somehow our presentation was not on track. There are several reasons for this. First, customers’ needs change. Even during the discussion itself. During the discussion, they are evaluating and reevaluating based on their thoughts and on your input to those thoughts. So what you took from the discussion might be very different from what they took from the discussion.

Before you transition into your presentation, always, always summarize what you understand of their needs. Summarize in detail and incorporate subtleties and changes that you picked up on as they interacted with you while discussing their needs. Make sure that you have 100% agreement with them on your understanding of their needs before you start your response or presentation.

The goal is NOT to understand their needs. The goal is to make sure that the customer knows that you understand their needs. Make sure that there is absolutely no chance that you are presenting to the wrong issue or to a need that is no longer the same since your discussion. Remember it is not just parroting back what you heard. Learn how to get involved with them in those needs. Practice your skills in powerful summarization of needs in a compelling fashion.

Do that, and you will never again find yourself wondering, “How could I have been so far off the mark?”

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