Need satisfaction theory of selling


Though we have titled this article as a theory but in practice it is more practical that a Sales Person must adopt to close a deal. This also highlights that the product in question to be sold must have a utility creating a need for the potential customer or prospect to buy the same. We have therefore titled the article as Need Satisfaction Theory.

The need satisfaction theory is based on the interactive approach. The selling process is seen as one that involves mutual satisfaction, i.e. both the buyer and the seller gets satisfied. This theory is based on a win-win situation both for Sales Person and the Prospect or Customer.

The theory states that the salesperson should explore and identify the prospect’s needs and expectations before he or she presents the product to the prospect and closes the deal. Here the salesperson should actively listen to the buyer’s objections and then answer them keeping the customer needs in mind. It is believed that unless the sales people know their prospects’ needs and have in depth Product knowledge they can never sell, create and retain a satisfied customer.

This Need Satisfaction Theory has three stages which are:

1. Need Development.
2. Need Identification.
3. Need Satisfaction

The need development stage demands the salesperson to probe the prospects and actively listen to them. Open ended probes like “What do you do when you have an epidemic in this area, Doctor?� or “Tell me Doctor what has been your experience in using our firm’s drugs?� etc have to be used at this stage. An open-ended probe or for that matter all probes help the prospect to get over his or her anxieties, concerns, tensions and even gives such information to the sales person which the sales person may not be able to get to know otherwise. The sales person has to listen patiently while the prospect is revealing such potential information of his/her needs which may ultimately result in selling the product.
The attention paid by the sales person also reassures the prospect that the salesperson is not selfish and is interested in detailing the product in a way that will benefit the prospect.

An alert sales person will be able to identify the prospect’s needs even before the latter does. But an effective sales person knows only when the prospect identifies the needs will he or she be able to understand better the benefits offered by the sales person. In the need identification stage the sales person probes listens and sums up what the potential customer has listened. Summing up and giving a feed back to the prospect is important as it ensures a mutual understanding of the needs.

The Need Satisfaction stage sees the sales person making a presentation on Product features and how they will benefit the prospect and is able to answer the latter’s objection much more convincingly. Presentation and explanation skills are required at this stage by the sales person for closing the deal (selling).On the part of buyer the probing, listening and responding skills may help him / her to make the proper selection of the product before purchasing for satisfying his/her needs.