Latent Needs are needs that prospects don’t articulate early in an elicitation conversation because they don’t know what’s possible. Late in the conversation some prospects recognize that the product concept might solve an undisclosed problem. Seasoned elicitors, near the end of the dialogue, draw out this unarticulated need.
I have found that the following phrase helps me draw out latent needs.
“Thank you for helping me understand what you see in our product concept. Are there any things I should have covered during our conversation, but I didn’t know enough to ask them?”
I mentioned the almost magical effect this phrase has to my friend Andy, a physician. He laughed and said:
“You’ve just discovered a twist on what we call a patient’s ‘By-the-way” asides.”
“I always take the time with the patient to gather a detailed medical history. Yet, as the patient is leaving, they turn at door and say … ‘By-the-way Doc, it may be silly. But, there’s something else I want to tell you’. And their “By-the-way” aside provides the information I need to prescribe effective treatment.”