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Checklist: NEAT Selling

1. Need

Here, you have two main objectives.

First, you’ll need to determine whether the prospect can benefit from your solution and if not, disqualify and move on.

From there, your goal becomes getting the prospect to paint a clear picture of their needs, pain points, and goals.

Harris Consulting Group emphasizes that understanding needs requires sellers to really focus on digging beneath the surface to find the underlying pain prospects, users, and customers are experiencing. 

Questions to ask: 

  • What is the biggest challenge you’re facing today?
  • What barriers are preventing you from solving X problem?
  • What happens if you don’t solve X problem?
  • What are your biggest priorities this quarter/year?
  • What are your organization’s greatest strengths/biggest weaknesses?
  • What are your growth targets for this quarter/year? 
  • Are you on target to meet those goals? 
  • What’s keeping you from achieving your goals?
  • What’s going on inside your organization these days?
  • How have things changed since X event?
  • Who are your biggest competitors?
  • What teams/business units are impacted?
  • What do your day-to-day tasks look like?

2. Economic impact

Once you’ve identified the prospect’s needs, the next move is quantifying their pain points and problems and connecting them back to the bottom line.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to ask questions that uncover the actual costs (not hypotheticals) of the prospect’s current processes and solutions.

With that information, you can then ask deeper questions about potential improvements to gauge the actual economic impact of implementing your products or services.

Questions to ask: 

  • What is the economic impact of X problem?
  • Do you currently have a budget allocated for a solution?
  • How much are you spending on your current solution?
  • Would you be willing to pay $X if it meant Y and Z?
  • If you overcome X challenge, what would it mean 
  • How would solving this problem impact your competitiveness in the market?
  • How will C-suite/board/investors/etc. evaluate the impact of this solution?
  • What happens if you don’t move forward with this initiative?
  • How would the success of this effort impact you on a personal level? 
  • What would it mean for your team?
  • Do you think you’ve underinvested in solving this problem in the past?
  • How do you see your company evolving its strategy?

3. Access to authority

Here, your goal is to find out which decision-makers are involved in the buying process and what kind of authority they have over the purchase.

Initially, it’s about figuring out if you’re speaking with people who can connect you with the person with the final say over whether this deal can happen — or not. 

You’re also trying to determine how much influence each person has over other stakeholders —  this person acts as your champion on the inside and plays a key role in moving things forward.

Additionally, you’ll need to identify and win over the person most likely to block this deal from happening. 

Questions to ask: 

  • Are you the decision maker? If not, who is?
  • How can I reach that person?
  • What is your role in the decision making process?
  • Is there anyone else in your company that needs to be included in this discussion?
  • Who makes the final decision?
  • Who decided to look for a new solution provider in the first place?
  • Do you expect any pushback from other colleagues/decision makers?

4. Timeline

You’ll need to figure out what kind of timeline the prospect is working with – and what happens if they fail to meet that deadline.

Timeline questions also help you gauge urgency and can help you prioritize opportunities where decision-makers are looking to move quickly.

Alternatively, you might come up with a plan for nurturing prospects operating on longer timelines — that way, when it’s time to take action, your company is the first one that comes to mind. 

Questions to ask: 

  • What is your deadline for getting this problem solved?
  • What happens if you don’t solve the problem within X weeks/months/years?
  • When do you expect to make a decision?
  • When will you need to implement the solution? 
  • What will it take to move this deal forward?
  • If we make a deal, who needs to be trained?