Are you solving a problem, or selling a product?
Solving vs. Selling
Which is it?
You know, in reality, selling a product is not all that bad. You can focus really hard on the sale, create a tight sales process/cycle, and follow it ruthlessly. Doing this well will yield results. Doing it great can lead to outstanding results.
So why bother working on solving your prospect’s problems, when selling can be so effective?
One, it can make deals come down faster and with less effort, believe it or not. If the customer feels you are firmly in their camp, helping them solve problems, and that you will not steer them in the wrong direction, then they will trust you and follow your advice. Not a bad place to be as a salesperson. But, you have to earn this right. If you are not the solution they need, you have to be willing to admit this to the prospect and walk away from the deal.
There is another advantage to this kind of selling. Your size of contract is usually bigger and your margins fatter. Why? Because you did not go into the deal with a fixed focus. You are willing to look at the customer’s problems, through their eyes, and see what they see. When doing this, you often see a synergistic relationship between several of your products and their myriad problems.
These are not just words, selling vs. solving. They are a way of life – a strategic play in a tactical world. It takes fortitude to do this kind of selling. You really need to take the time and visit with the prospect to find out what exactly they are trying to solve. What are their goals, or business initiatives? Explore this with them. Be a consultant to them. Treat them like you would a great friend in the same spot. Do not throw away their trust by trying to force a solution on them. Really explore their world. Then, when you understand the full magnitude of their problems, explore what your company can do for them. If there is a fit, and you believe it is a great fit, then share this with them. Show them exactly what you can do. Dramatize what is unique about you, and what value it creates for them. Be of service to them. Make your sales story come alive. Remember, Samurai means: “One Who Serves.” Now you are Samurai!
By Chuck Laughlin, Founder, Corporate Visions Inc.