The idea behind solution selling is simple. By presenting an answer to a problem or issues, instead of simply promoting your product, you’ll acquire new customers and keep them satisfied.
The solution selling process is exactly what it sounds like: selling a customer on a solution (your business or product) that helps them overcome a problem.
A solution selling process differs from a more traditional sales process because, instead of just pushing a product, the partner focuses on a specific issue or problem the customer faces and suggests corresponding services or products to solve that issue. We recently held a partner seminar to examine how adopting a solution selling strategy can empower a sales force. Here are the steps:
Six Solution Selling Steps
1. Prepare with Research - Your first goal is to know who exactly you're dealing with - you need to know who they are and about their line of business. Online resources should aid this process and will help you decode the types of challenges their organization must face. If your company already handles a similar company, you have a model of what issues your product or service may resolve.
2. Ask, Ask and Ask Again - Of course, the simplest way of figuring out the pain points and challenges of an organization is to simply ask them. If you approach the conversation with open-ended questions you may get the answers you're looking for while also gaining insight on other problems. When you've discussed one pain point, consider asking about it again - you'd be surprised how much new information you might obtain.
3. Listen - Once you've asked the question, it's time to truly listen to the answer. Great sellers have two ears and one mouth and their attention and actions should reflect that perspective. When the prospect completes what they're saying, it's critical to respond and repeat what they've said. Not only does this inform the prospect that you care and are indeed listening, but it can help you frame your own mind around their pain points.
4. Teach - Since you've been asking the right questions and actively listening to the answers, you should be able to find some opportunities to teach your prospect. You have solutions and products to help them overcome their challenges - inform them from the standpoint of fixing pain points and not from pitching a deal. Your goal isn't to sell them a product so much as it is to solve a problem for them, no matter what!
5. Qualify the Prospect - Remember, qualified prospects have goals, challenges to overcome, a defined timeline, at least the outline of a plan and a budget. If these pieces are in place, you're primed to close the deal. If the prospect is unqualified - don't worry! They absolutely have challenges they face, and by helping them and building a close relationship you'll make them ready for any future sale.
6. Close - If you did steps 1-5 correctly, closing the deal should be already done.
The sales process you’ve known and used for years doesn’t need to be thrown out, but you may want to shift your approach a bit. With some slight tweaking, you can refocus your sales process to include a solution selling process. The solution selling methodology is about reframing the way a prospective client thinks about your product. Don’t shy away from a difficult discussion of pain points—embrace it! Use these hang-ups to your advantage to better position your service as the answer to their prayers. Give the client a glimpse into how easy their day-to-day operations could be if they adopted your product.
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