The best salespeople don’t try to solve problems for customers. Instead, they solve problems with customers.
They learn about problems customers want to solve and outcomes they want to accomplish. They use these insights to shift their focus from products to customer solutions.
Focus on results
Successful salespeople consistently solve customer problems. They recognize that no product or service is excellent in and of itself. It’s only excellent if it fulfills a customer’s need, and it does that by creating an image of a satisfying solution that the customer can understand.
Selling a solution means presenting your product or service as something that will have an economic impact. That’s why every successful sales scenario is composed of three separate steps:
- Understand the customer’s problems.
- Develop as clear a picture as possible of the customer’s image of a solution.
- Demonstrate how your company can provide a solution that fits this image.
- For every problem, there’s a dissatisfied customer. A business problem always causes dissatisfaction for someone. When you see dissatisfaction you’ve got a problem to fix.
- Never try to solve a problem without the right information. Get the information first. Don’t think you know the answer and then go and find information to support your guess.
- Take on the customer’s problem personally. Powerful things begin to happen when you go beyond the norm to try to resolve problems.
Adapted from: Customer Innovation by Marion Debruyne, who advises businesses on market changes. She has taught at the Wharton School, the Kellogg School and the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.