Don’t sell the product, sell the solution to the problem you solve.
In sales, if you are selling the product you are losing. People mainly buy things or services because they have a problem that needs to be solved and you have the product that is the solution.
As a salesperson, it is your job to find out what that problem is and how you can pitch your product as the solution. When you start solving problems for others that is when you will be sought out as a trusted advisor.
By the end of this article you will have an idea of how to come across as a solution provider. You will be able to help customers identify problems with their current service and be able to pitch your product or service as a solution.
The first step in being a solution provider is finding out what your customers situation is. Getting to know them is key in figuring out how you can help them.
You must ask qualifying questions
Asking a customer specific questions does two things:
First, it shows the customer that you are interested in what they have to say. It helps create the relationship with the customer that you will need in order to give them suggestions.
Second, it qualifies them for your service. It helps you find out if the service is right for the customer and what aspects stand out that you can use in the conversation.
Some examples of qualifying questions are:
- What company do you currently use?
- What services do you have with them?
- What is your favorite and least favorite thing about that service?
- What are you paying for that service?
- Is there anything you wish that service offered that it doesn’t?
While these are just a few examples of qualifying questions, you basically need to understand what your customer has, how they feel about it, how your service or product compares, and how you can improve their experience.
Listen to the customer
If you can understand what kind of person your customer is and what fires them up, you have already fought half the battle.
Great salespeople take the time to talk with their customers. They get to know who they are and what their interests are.
For example, you sell TV service with DVR boxes. Your customer is an elderly couple who is not fond of technology or change but likes to save money. How would you pitch your customer?
The interaction should go something like this, “Mr. Customer, I can understand how you don’t want a complicated system. There is complete ease in using the system, and you will keep all the local channels you enjoy so that doesn’t change. We can save you $50 a month on the bill. How does that sound?”
If you didn’t ask the questions to find out that your customer doesn’t like new technology and change, then you could have gave them a speech on how cool the new DVR system is and all it’s amazing features. Your customer would have turned you down immediately.
When you get to know your customer first, and not only that but listen to what they tell you about their lives and pain points, you can cater your solution to their problem. You can cater your pitch to their interests. And close the sale.
But how do you present a solution to a customer?
- Think about how your product solves a particular issue or frustration, (maybe the issue of price, inconvenience, boredom, necessity)
- Think about how your product will help your customer or improve their quality of life by giving them value
- Think about how your product can help them help their customers
Make sure you are providing value to your customer in some way. Pitch them a solution to their problem or an idea that will get them to say “yes, I need this in my life!”
Phrase it like:
“Based on what you told me, I would recommend…”
“Here’s what I can do for you…”
“To solve the issue of A, I can provide B”
“With my product, not only will it help you A but also (provide this value)”
Be a solution provider
Being a solution provider is not about providing a solution to a problem because they may not realize they have a problem. Being a solution provider is about figuring out what that problem is and then offering a valuable solution.
Fear of Change
But what if the customer doesn’t have a problem with their current service?
The initial reaction for anyone when faced with a change is, no, I am happy with what I have. It’s a natural instinct to fear change.
When I sold a service door-to-door, that was the first thing I heard from customers. “No, I am good with my current service.”
That didn’t scare me away. In fact, I took that as a challenge.
Think about it, I had just approached them. They know nothing about the service I am offering. I haven’t done a comparison of their service against mine yet, so they do not know for a fact that they are good with their service, it is just fear of change.
So I proceed, “What is your current service? What do you have with them?”
I give them a question that is not just a yes or no question. The customer will then have to think what their current service is and what they have. They may still object “I like my current service.”
“Great, what do you like about them?”
Again, a question that is not yes or no. They will have to think about what that company does for them. What do they like about their current company?
Most of the time after these questions are asked, the customer feels a sense of curiosity on whether or not what you have is better.
Recognize the customer’s pain points.
The pain points can be anything that the customer can’t do now with their current service that they wish they could do. Sometimes customers will openly state what they dislike about their current service so you have the opportunity to solve their problem with your service.
Many customers don’t initially state their pain points, or they say they are happy with what they have. In this case, it is your job to find their pain points. Ask key questions about how their service operates and what it offers while mentally taking notes of everything that you can improve.
Once you are able to point out these issues, the customer then begins to see more value in a service that will relieve their concerns or make their life better or things more convenient.
As we have established, pain points make customers take action. A customer is more likely to make a decision if you can show them a problem they have with their current service and then solve that problem with your service.
Be the go-to person for your customer
As I said earlier, when you solve the customers problem you are then seen as a trusted advisor. Take on the customers issue as if it were your own and not only will your customer respect you but they will also trust your suggestions.
Place the relationship with the customer over your sales quota.
In the back of your mind you know you have a sales quota to meet, but the customer doesn’t need to see that. The customer doesn’t want someone who is going to push them into something they don’t want to do or don’t see the value in doing.
As a salesperson, it is your job to make sure you are understood. The customer must see the value in your product or else you risk them changing their mind, canceling, or returning the service.
When you give someone value, the sale is more likely to stick.
Reassure your customer that you are the go-to person for the product or service you are selling. You may not know all the answers, but the best thing you can give a customer of yours is the reassurance that you are there for them and even if you don’t know the answer, you will put in the work to find the answer for them.
Give them your card and invite them to reach out to you with any questions or concerns. In my opinion, this is the most valuable step. The last thing you want is for you to go through all the work of acquiring them as a customer and then a spur of the moment concern leads them to cancel.
By giving your customer reassurance that you are there for them it lowers the percentage of customers that will cancel and make your sales more sticky leading to recommendations and repeat business.