I don’t mean the focus eloquently detailed by Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why”, nor the emphasis delivered by Tony Robbins in his inspiring TED Conferences Talk.

I mean the very basis and starting point for any engagement with a prospect candidate or client, in our understanding their ‘why’, that drives what they’re looking for.

We should always qualify our prospect before speaking or meeting with them to ensure they match who we can deliver to, and therefore not waste their or our time.

But when we do engage with them, I believe there are 3 fundamental steps to follow within recruitment or consultancy:
1. Identify and prioritise the ‘needs’, not just the ‘wants’.
2. Match your tailored solutions to these ‘needs’.
3. Close – a specific agreed action of next steps to a timescale.

If you don’t ask ‘why’ your prospect ‘wants’ what they say they want, then you won’t really understand their ‘Need’. You may only know what they’ve decided is the solution to their need.

Henry Ford absolutely nailed it when he said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”.

In asking Why, you can understand their true Drivers / Motivators from which you can discuss and match the best tailored solution. The motor car, not a faster horse, for example.

We humans are complex beings so there will rarely be only one ‘need’, but several. It’s key that we understand and confirm the priority order of their importance, and again that we understand why.

By testing these needs in their priority order as we understand them, through consulting in discussing potential solution options, we can then gain greater clarity on where we’ll allocate our valuable time in delivering the ‘best available’ solution, whether that be a new role or new talent for a role.

The better the qualifying, followed by a clear understanding of needs, the more accurate and effective will be the matching and consulting.

These 3 steps need to be confirmed consistently throughout the life-cycle of the engagement, as the only ‘constant’ is change, and so we may find these priorities have changed and we’re no longer delivering a workable solution.

What process do you use to truly understand your prospects’ needs?

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