Discovering Customer Needs (Buying Conditions)



1.         The purpose is to discover customer needs or buying conditions.  These are the most important thing a consultative salesperson can do (allows you to later address these needs with product/service solutions).

2.         You will NOT attempt to sell anything at this meeting.  You only discover needs.

3.         You will end the conversation by telling Erin Adkins that you will go back to your office to write up a proposal (your product/service solutions to her needs). 

4.         You will make a firm appointment to come back next week to meet with her again to PRESENT your proposal to her.  (Note: a  formal “sales presentation” is nothing more than presenting your solutions to the customer’s needs).



1.         Follows the "Evaluator's " Form at the Role-Play Site Map.

2.         Role-Play Members: (a) Salesperson-Rich McNeill, (b) Customer-Erin Adkins, and (c) Evaluator-_______.

3.         Erin Adkins is instructed to respond (see Role-Play Site Map) in a certain way; some things she will talk about and others not.

4.         The following role-play model only provides you the basics so be sure to read and understand ALL instructions at the Role-Play Site Map very thoroughly.


Role-Play III Model Script

The Approach


Objective # 1 – Approach and Reestablish the Relationship

RICH:  Good morning, Ms. Adkins.  It’s great to see you again.  Thanks for inviting me over again.  Oh, by the way did you catch the Bulls vs. the Celtics the other night?  I can’t believe Jordan.  He’s incredible…46 points in one game…a true legend in his own time   (Making a good entrance, smiling, shakes hands, takes an “invited” seat) .


ERIN:  I was there! In fact, I was seated right behind the players…fantastic experience. Oh, by the way, just call me Erin.


Objective # 1 (Continued) Comment on Known Items About Erin Adkins


RICH: Well, Erin, I also saw  Toni Bush at the mall the other day...she said Hi.


ERIN:  We have a family reunion coming up in two weeks and I’m sure that I’ll see her then, but thanks.


RICH:  Erin, six months ago, my family got together at their annual reunion, you know in the end, there’ no replacement for family.


ERIN:  Rich, I’m happy you feel that way…I do.


Accomplishing the Purpose of the Sales Interview (To Obtain Customer Needs)

Objective # 2 – Obtain Customer Needs


RICH:  (Transition Statement away from reestablishing relationship to focusing on the business at hand)   I certainly appreciate your call to consider the Hyatt Regency Phoenix Hotel for your upcoming meeting. I’m especially appreciative that you specifically asked for me.  I’d like to ask you some questions about what you’re looking to achieve at your meeting


(Note:  Erin will give Rich the 6 needs or buying conditions - see ROLE-PLAY SITE MAP.)  While your "Evaluator's Form" does not specifically state it, you need to know that there are two general types of need questions: (a) fact-finding and (b) feel-finding.  Feel-finding questions are very important to uncovering the customers true motivation for buying.


Again, Rich asks if Erin minds (politeness) if he take a few notes (shows interest and captures information that might be difficult to remember).


Fact-Finding Questions


RICH: Erin, what type of meeting is this?


ERIN:  It’s called the YWCA Physical Fitness Seminar.


RICH: Erin, when do you want to hold your meeting?


ERIN:  The next Thursday of next Month for one day.


RICH:  How many people will be attending?


ERIN:  There will be 150 total people at the meeting, but 40 non-smoking singles will stay overnight the night before.


RICH: What are your meeting accommodation needs?


ERIN:  One meeting room theater style for 150 from 1:00 to 3:00 and a 3000 square foot display (trade show) room from 3 PM to 7:30 PM.


RICH:  What about food and beverage needs?


ERIN:  We will have a chicken banquet lunch at noon for 150 on the day of the meeting.


RICH:  Will all of your attendees be flying in?


ERIN:  Yes, the 40 seminar leaders , but not others, none will.  I glad you brought that up.  We have to be sure to have a convenient downtown location with convenient parking.


RICH:  Erin, everyone is seeking maximum value for cost, yet sometimes there are budgetary constraints.  Do you have a budget for this meeting?


ERIN:  Yes, it's around $10,000, plus or minus a little.


Feel-Finding Questions (None are given in this role-play but note the type of question for your information)


RICH: Erin, what is the objective of this meeting? What would be a mark of a successful meeting for you?


ERIN:  Rich, I happy you asked this.  While it’s a Physical Fitness Meeting and sounds ordinary, actually this is the kickoff meeting for a major series.  This meeting has to “wow” the attendees.  I want them to tell their friends.  The success of this meeting is an important part of the YWCA’s marketing plan.  Its success is extremely important to me.


Closing the Interview

Open-Ended Questions (solicits anything else that the salesperson did not remember to ask)


RICH:  Is there anything else that is important to you?


ERIN:  I think we have just about covered everything.



NOTE:  At this time you should have listed the 6 meeting needs as specified in the Role-Play course packet (See Site Map. 

  Future Actions

Objective # 3 – Set-up a Presentation Appointment (this will be your Role-Play IV a)


RICH:  (“Transition” to wrap up interview) Erin, I appreciate your spending time with me today.  I feel confident that the Hyatt Regency Phoenix Hotel can satisfy your meeting needs.

What I would like to do is to go back to my office and write up a proposal of how our hotel can satisfy your needs. I need a day to thoroughly consider how we can help you. 

Can we set an appointment for the day after tomorrow to meet again so that I can go over the proposal with you?


ERIN:  Sure.  Between 1 pm and 4 pm would be best;  how about 3 pm?

RICH:  (Writing in his day planner) I’ll be here at 3 pm the day after tomorrow.

Erin, I appreciate your time and look forward to discussing how we can help you have a successful meeting next month.