By Frans Coenen, ValueSelling Associates
By now, most sales professionals believe the key to selling is discovering the prospect’s problem or “pain”. After all, without a problem, why does anyone need a solution?
While this is true, just finding the problem may not be enough to sell your solution. Let me explain…
Although we may try to prove otherwise, not all problems are worth solving. Additionally, not all problems are equally important. Therefore, sales reps should find out which challenges get funding and attention from the executives of a targeted organisation. Those problems are important and clearly impact the business.
How do you find out which of your prospect’s problems are important and worth solving?
Top 5 recom-mendations to find which problems matter
1. Engage executives in thoughtful business conversations
It is vital for sales representatives to maintain their business acumen as well as their communication skills. By doing so, they both understand and elevate conversation to focus on specific problems rather than common challenges. These specific problems, keeping someone from achieving their business objectives, are the problems you solve. Regardless of your solution, do you have the skills to connect to a prospect’s business objectives?
2. Uncover the prospect’s struggle in reaching business goals and objectives, which are typically time bound and measurable
It’s not just a matter of helping a company or unit increase its year-over-year revenue. Perhaps a prospect needs to increase revenue by 10 percent by fiscal year end, but right now, they are tracking only 8 percent annual revenue growth. Discover this specific issue and the pain you address directly impacts their ability to meet that objective. Suddenly the chances of your prospect becoming a customer increase dramatically, because you offer the solution they need.
3. Clearly connect your solution to solving the problems that matter
- High-performing sales executives can position and connect their solution to the business issue – not just the tactical problem. One key to sell the value of your solution is to measure the positive impact of your solution on the business.
Business value always relates to the business issue, whether that issue is managing growth, controlling costs, or improving efficiencies. If your goods or services save someone time and money, you want them to see that connection by quantifying the amount. Top performing sales professionals uncover the value associated with helping a business run better. That’s why they’re the top performers…
Recognise the problems prospects need to address and why those problems are worth solving. Understand how your products directly, or indirectly, tie to overall business objectives and goals of this specific company. Meanwhile, stay aware of business initiatives within your own organisation impacting order fulfillments or deliverables.
4. Be sure the prospect is willing to make a change
This level of problem solving requires sales rep-initiated conversations that focus less on a product’s features or provider’s capabilities and more on what is happening within a business. Be sure the potential client acknowledges there’s an issue; otherwise, efforts will stall. If prospects don’t see the need to change, they won’t see a need to buy your solution.
5. Build a business case that includes your solution’s financial impact
One more thing the best sales professionals do is help executives build a business case that quantifies your solutions’ business impact in a way that holds up when an executive must fight for the capital to fund the purchase. In essence, you must take the time to truly understand that customer and engage, not pitch.
This takes time – to do the required homework, adequately prepare for a call or meeting, and really listen to executives when pinpointing what prevents them from achieving their business objectives. Even then, it may turn out your solution isn’t what a company currently needs.
If you can’t reach that conclusion and move on or convince someone you are the right vendor based on value… Well, then, we may have a problem!
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