Using the 5 Why’s to identify the real Customer need

One thing is clear: your product is not the real Customer need. They might be asking for your product, but that is only because they think it might be an appropriate solution to fix their need.


Fact is that the vendor that best understands the Customer need has the best chance of winning the deal.


Finding the real customer need requires you to dig a little deeper. This is where we can borrow from Lean Six Sigma that uses the 5 Why’s to find the root cause of a problem:


The vehicle will not start. (the problem)
  1. Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (second why)
  2. Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (third why)
  3. Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (fourth why)
  4. Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (fifth why, a root cause)


Now take your best current sales opportunity and run yourself through the five why’s: Why is the customer interested in this product? What will the product solve? Why do they want to solve this? Why is this a priority for them? Use this as preparation for your next interaction with the Customer.


I guarantee that you will have a lively and interesting dialog with your Customer, even if you cannot identify their real need in this first meeting!


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