You looked at a problem and saw an opportunity. You formulated a solution that works, and works well; but how do you get the word out so that consumers find your solution? Welcome to Solution Selling.
Every startup should address a real and demonstrated need in the world – if you build a solution to a problem lots of people have, it’s so easy to sell your product to the world.
-Kevin Systrom, Co-founder of Instagram
Solution selling focuses on selling the solution instead of a product. Its foundation is a dependent relationship between client and salesperson that is based on the salesperson’s expertise in the industry.
Some see solution selling as outdated. Proponents of the Challenger Sales Method point out that it is important to challenge the way that clients think and provoke them to change. A great point. Solution selling MUST be updated to remain valid. That starts with revealing problems buyers are unaware of, and ends with a pronounced provocation for change. Some aspects of solution selling may no longer be relevant, but with a few tweaks, there is still plenty we can learn from it.
Here are 4 steps to creating an updated solution selling strategy that works.
1. Cultivate a Relationship
Solution selling works well for both high end products and highly complex products. The more intricate the solution, the more time it will take to listen to the client’s needs, assess the client’s needs, and consider the ultimate custom solution. All of this begins by cultivating the seller/client relationship, which may require a significant time investment, from introductions to the close of the sale. Take it from VidScale COO Adam Rizika, “Relationship selling is essential if you have a high average selling price. Your customers need to know they can depend on you -- that if something goes wrong, you’ll be there.”
While building up the relationship, it is important to remember these 3 things:
- Be patient. It may take some time to establish the relationship.
- Be reliable. The relationship must be built on trust.
- Be honest. Misinformation is a relationship stopper.
2. Examine the Pain Points.
What are your client’s pain points?
Business pain points usually come in one of these 3 forms:
- I need to increase revenue
- I need to reduce expenses
- I need to increase productivity
Is your client stuck in one of these common struggles? Could your solution help to alleviate that struggle? Offering a solution before you have a firm grip on your prospect’s business pain will be seen for just what it is -- a disingenuous sales play with phony intentions.
Don’t underestimate today’s buyer. Today’s buyer is informed and harder to please. They want personalized attention and custom solutions. Developing solutions for specific client problems instead of relying on outdated and obvious sales tactics will help cultivate the peer level relationship with the client and create loyalty. Don’t shy away from difficult discussions about pain points—embrace it! Work directly with the customer to create a value proposition by identifying their needs and issues.
3. Highlight Solution Differences
Once you’ve addressed the first two steps, now you can unpack and present the solutions. Offer a complete price & feature comparison with competitors to help single out why you are a better fit. Instead of making blanket statements that you can’t prove, be ready to present qualitative data that will resonate with the customer. Take the best things about your company and research why they will save the client money or improve their product. In other words, look beyond the obvious.
- Does it work faster or lessen down-time?
- Does it require less energy?
- Does it require less employee resources?
- Does it cost less?
- If it costs more at first, does it save money in the long run? When will it pay off?
Your customers are researching all possible solutions right now -- don’t let that trouble you. Help them with their research. Being honest and upfront about what other companies have to offer creates trust in the company who provided it. Nurture the relationship by dumping the fast sales talk and being an available source of clear and actionable information. Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all solution for the widest audience, fit each individual customer’s needs with your products and services.
4. Convey your Truth
An updated selling solution must include a bold call to action. At this point, you’ve established a relationship with the client and genuinely care about their success. This enables you to share with fervor the solution you think would best suite them.
This is best accomplished by simply sharing a case study or personal story about someone who had this problem. How did it affect them personally? Don’t be reluctant to convey their true frustration and aggravation. Allowing a prospect into a private struggle creates engagement and helps your story come across as genuine and powerful. Go on to express how things improved once the solution stopped the problem, and give an update of the progress today.
So don’t throw solution selling in the trash just yet - tweak it!
Become a catalyst for change by revealing to your clients what they should know about their situation. Present fresh insights while standing your ground on what solutions will work. Keep nurturing the relationship, faithfully adding value and watch it bloom into profitability.
Need help figuring out your customers’ pain points or crafting your selling story? Call SurveyMe. We’d love to help you!
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