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  • Brent Bonine

Don't Sell - Solve!

Nobody cares about what you do until they know what you can do for them!

Assuming this is true, then why are salespeople so eager to tell us about their products’ features or the benefits of a service they offer? This behavior is what leads to the unwanted perception that salespeople are self-interested and pushy. It’s like going to a party and meeting someone for the first time and then spending the next 15 minutes listening to them talk about themselves - boring!

When a prospect raises their hand and says, “I may be interested in what you do,” that is not the time to start telling them about your product or service. Instead, the seasoned sales professional responds by asking “Why?” – “Why is this prospect interested in what I have to offer?”

Something has happened to pique the prospect’s interest in learning more about what you have to offer. They could have seen an ad that you ran or an email you sent, or they might have been referred to you. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have them answer the phone when you called and something you said in your introduction aroused their interest. Whatever sparked their interest has now briefly opened the door; what you do next will determine your chances of success.

Salespeople can be so eager to speak with an interested prospect, that they forget the simple truth stated at the top of the page. The door has been opened, and they assume the prospect wants to “hear their pitch,” so away they go, telling this prospect about the features and benefits of their solution. In those first few moments, it feels like the prospect is engaged, but as the salesperson continues to ramble on, the prospect withdraws with a polite, “OK, thanks for the info.” Never to be heard from again.

The experienced salesperson knows how ineffective this approach is and has learned to respond by asking questions.

I appreciate your willingness to speak with me, how can I help?

Thanks for taking my call, what caught your attention today?

However, you phrase it – you must begin by getting the prospect to tell you what their need or want is.

What problem are they looking to solve?

What pain are they looking to address?

How are they hoping to improve their current situation?

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Your prospect starts telling you about a problem they have and immediately, you realize that your product or service can solve that problem. You can’t wait for the prospect to take a breath so that you can jump in and tell him how your company has the solution for his problem - Rookie mistake!

An experienced salesperson continues to dig deeper to determine how deep and wide the pain is for this prospect. This salesperson knows from previous experience what pains or problems they are typically solving. They may say something like:

I have worked with other clients that have had similar problems. They were also experiencing (list 2-3 more problems the prospect may be experiencing). Are you experiencing any of these issues?”

The objective is to get your prospect to talk for as long as possible about the pains or problems they want to resolve. In doing so, the prospect is reliving the feelings of frustration resulting from these problems. So much so that they are willing to spend time with you to see if you can help them!

Once the prospect has had the opportunity to detail their pains or problems, an inexperienced salesperson might think that now is the time to tell them how their product or service can solve their problem, but that would be another mistake.

The preferred path is to provide the prospect with a brief statement about your company and your experience solving similar problems.

"Our company has been solving similar problems for the past 10 years. We have helped many clients that were in a comparable situation to what you’re experiencing and shared some of the same challenges.”

The next step is to introduce how you are different from your competition before you go into detail about your solution. An example of this may be:

Clients that were in a similar situation as yours, chose to work with us because….. (list 2-3 reasons why clients choose to work with you

Make sure that your list differentiates you from your competitors. If possible, try to focus on things that address potential concerns your client may have about solving this problem. Generic statements like. “We have experienced techs,” or “We provide excellent service,” are commonly used by everyone. So much so, that nobody hears them anymore. Find something about your approach or process that makes your solution different. It may be a specific feature of the product you sell that other companies don’t offer. It may be a unique process that you engage in that produces different results. Whatever it is, find something that separates you from your competition.

Once you’ve probed the prospect to share their pains and problems with you and provided a very short introduction of your company and how you differentiate, you’re ready to begin answering the question your prospective client is asking “Why should I choose you?”

Now you can begin to share what you can do for the client and how you can help solve his problem. Your prospect is eager to learn how you can help solve his problem. Your presentation highlights how your solution solves their problem and how you can improve their current situation.

You’re not selling but solving problems.


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