When you have successfully engaged a potential customer with a compelling message that resonates because it speaks to what they value, you are in a good position to provide a solution to their business challenges. Whether we call them challenges or problems, we all have things we are trying to solve for at any given time. The thing about change is that we rarely change until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change.
In this article, you will learn ideas for how to:
- Focus on solving real problems for real people: alleviating pain
- Align your approach to the customer’s strategic goals
- Present solutions that fully align to resolve pain
Catch all the articles in The Multiplier Sale© Series!
Change is hard. Change can be painful. This is one of the primary reasons people tend to stick with what they’ve got in terms of service providers or products – the “stickier” the service, the more painful it becomes to change to a new provider. However, when the current situation exceeds a certain pain threshold, we no longer worry about the pain of changing – we can’t wait to make a change that will alleviate the pain.
An example of this is deciding when to upgrade your smartphone. Changing devices can be painful – we know it will take time to get set up, get logged back into all our apps and get everything reconnected. Until we have a compelling reason to switch, we might just keep our old device. However, a device that doesn’t function optimally can cause all kinds of pain and frustration, in which case we tend to be very motivated to make a change.
The Multiplier Sale© Step 4: SOLVE
Think about the last time you upgraded your phone. Did you delay the decision to upgrade, or did you jump in and upgrade as soon as the latest version of your favorite brand was released? What were the determining factors causing you to delay, or to upgrade quickly?
Focus on Solutions
At its core, selling is about solving real problems for real people. If your product or service doesn’t provide a real solution, then what’s the point?
The word “solution” implies that there is a problem to be solved.
Problem-solving requires true understanding. Understanding comes from observation, asking good questions, and listening – rather than from talking. This does not mean listening simply so you can get an “in” to say what you want to say, but rather, really listening to the other person. Listening to the challenges they face and the opportunities they have the potential to realize. Listening for understanding.
“Your job is to become an expert on the problem, not the solution.”– Mike Fiacco, Executive Sales Leader
Think about a time you were truly heard and understood by someone. How did that feel?
Only when you understand the problem better than the solution can you actually provide a solution that truly fixes the problem.
By developing a more personalized relationship with your client, you will be able to get to know them better on a deeper level and provide real help faster.
- What are some good questions to ask to gain true understanding?
- How do you transition from being self-oriented and self-centered in a conversation, to being other-oriented and other-centered?
- How do you build a presentation that focuses on understanding a customer’s problem and effectively communicates the solution?
Give and Take
Adam Grant describes people as either “givers” or “takers,” and the difference between successful and unsuccessful givers. It turns out, the most successful, and also the least successful salespeople are all givers. The difference is in their focus and in the way they give to others as well as to themselves. Successful givers are “otherish” rather than selfish or selfless. “Otherish” givers consider the needs of others AND their own needs.
So, what is it that you need from a customer relationship? What does the customer need? How can what is good for your customer also be good for you?
Consider your ideal client:
- What are their values and their WHY?
- What are their goals?
- What is their biggest pain or problem?
- How does this affect their business and their life?
- What do they stand to gain by solving for this?
- How could their life be better if this problem was solved?
Consider the business role you are in:
- What are your values, and your WHY?
- What value does your service provide?
- How can your product or service solve your client’s problem?
- How does this solution affect their business and their life?
- What do they stand to gain by buying your product or service?
- How could their life be better with your product or service?
Align to Strategic Goals
Strategy dictates spend.
What this means, is that businesses tend to spend money and energy on things that will advance their strategic goals. If something doesn’t directly align with the business strategy, it is much more likely to be cut or de-prioritized once budgets are established or tightened.
To ensure you are positioned well before discussing rates and costs of your services, make sure there is clear alignment with the customer’s definition of success for this specific project or initiative, which is indicative of what they value – and it will most certainly have to do with the things that fit into their strategy and will help advance their goals.
Before heading into a meeting where the objective is to propose a solution to a potential customer, ask yourself these questions:
- What is my customer’s business strategy?
- What are their main goals?
- How do they define success?
- How will I find out if I don’t already know the answers?
If you don’t know your customer’s strategy or goals, you have no real value proposition.
What you provide must tie in with the customer’s business strategy, or in the case of an individual consumer, their personal and professional goals. In the words of Tara-Nicholle Nelson, this has everything to do with their desire for transformation, to become in some way or another “healthier, wealthier and wiser.”
If you are unable to show that what you offer aligns with, and can help achieve, their strategy and goals they have no real reason to spend money with you.
Present the Solution
Once you have identified the solution that will alleviate the pain your customer is experiencing, that solves their specific business problem, and that fully aligns with their values and goals, it is time to present this solution in a compelling way.
Drawing the parallel between their values and purpose (their WHY) to your own values and WHY, between their strategic goals and your value proposition, and between their business problem and your specific solution is an effective way to achieve this.
When presenting your solution to customers, consider incorporating a side-by-side comparison that visually illustrates this alignment:
|Their values and WHY |
|Your values and WHY |
With this approach, you will make it easy to see the alignment between what is important to the customer, and what you provide – and when you can do that, closing the deal is easy.
That’s what we will discuss in our next article in this series!
Further Reading – if you would like to dig deeper, consider these books:
- Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant
- The Transformational Consumer: Fuel a Lifelong Love Affair with Your Customers by Helping Them Get Healthier, Wealthier, and Wiser by Tara-Nicholle Nelson
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