Probing for requirements
Requirements gathering is largely dependent on your probing techniques. So, it is worth your while to educate yourself (and your sales team). For instance:
- Open probes – used to understand concepts. What do you need? What about this is important to you? How will this make a difference? Tell me more.
- Closed probes – closed to elicit and clarify specific information. So, the requirement is …. If I understand you correctly, you’re saying … Right?
Keep in mind that during the requirements phase, the customer should do most of the talking (70%). Using these type of questions, you should be able to follow the basic 3 step requirements technique:
- Elicit and define the need
- Analyze and support a suitable solution
- Verify and close that the need will be met
Note that it is not essential to come up with the exact solution to the need. You merely need to establish what the requirement is and how you will judge if the requirement is met.
Dealing with Concerns
Another aspect of successful requirements gathering is recognizing concerns and knowing how to deal with them effectively. In each case, you should first acknowledge the concern and probe further for clarification before responding. Then, check again for acceptance before closing.
Skepticism – occurs when a customer expresses doubt about a proposed solution to a requirement. Respond by offering further proof.
Misunderstanding – occurs when a customer is misinformed about your proposed solution. Respond by clarify the proposed solution and seek acceptance.
Indifference – occurs when the customer understands the solution but does not see that it is necessary. Respond by validating the need before repositioning the solution.
Drawback – occurs when the customer not only understands the solution but is not satisfied. Respond by acknowledge their dissatisfaction and their unsolved need. Then depending on the situation, you may need to refocus the customer on a great need that is being resolved, thereby minimizing the issue.