When we say “Acme Construction” is a prospect it’s uselessly vague. Even when we say “The Operations Director at “Acme Construction” it’s not good.
We must do our homework.The minimum is:
Name. Who do I want to meet specifically?
An unconsidered need. Why would they want to meet me?
That’s the start for precise, not uselessly vague, prospecting research.
Are you wondering now, “what does Clive mean by unconsidered needs?”
Unconsidered needs are problems, or missed opportunities, that prospects didn’t know they had until you highlighted them as important.
I first came across the term “unconsidered needs” in a study about effective sales messaging, by Corporate Visions. If you want more detail you can read this for yourself.
For prospecting, unconsidered needs are a carrot you can dangle to get an introductory meeting. You’re promising the person a chance to gain insight about something they didn’t previously know, or about an issue they weren’t aware they had.
There are three types of unconsidered needs:
- Undervalued, or underestimated.Your prospect doesn’t realise just how big the need is, or how quickly the issue is going to land on their plate.
- Unmet, or unresolved. Often the prospect’s team has hidden the problems with unacceptable, or unsustainable, workarounds and hacks. At some stage the pain is going to return – multiplied.
- Unknown needs. These are blind spots for the client. They don’t know what they don’t know, until you point it out.
If you’re prospecting it’s worthwhile taking the time to figure out something in one of these areas. Here’s an example insight about an unknown need:
Executives don’t want to meet people who talk at the product level. Studies show that executives value having business conversations 4x more than product conversations (Sirius Decisions Research). But while 88% of Executives believe that sellers they meet are knowledgeable about their products and services, only 24% believe those sellers are knowledgeable about their specific businesses.” (Forrester Research Webinar). For many consultants there’s a business acumen gap that needs to be closed.
Simply working on unconsidered needs messaging like this is hugely advantageous … because it shifts your thinking out of “commodity problem solver” mode and into a space where you can begin to position your unique capabilities as a value creator.