solution selling

Perhaps your sales team is entering the quarter in a bit of a slump. What you need is a new way to inspire your staff while driving sales figures to new heights. Agreed? Great. I have just one question for you, “How much do you know about solution selling?”

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What is Solution Selling?

Also referred to as Consultative Selling, back in the mid-1970’s, Frank Watts, who at the time was an employee of Wang Laboratories, spent an awful lot of time developing a new, and rather an unusual approach to selling. This new sales technique, which would become known as solution selling, had a radically different sales process than the most popular sales methodology of the time which was called product selling.

Product selling involves merely trying to persuade a customer that the product you sell is a better version than the similar products each of your competitors is selling. However, salespeople using the product selling method of sales spend much of their time with potential buyers going over feature lists and pricing options.

Successful solution selling requires an alternative way of making a sale. Salespeople utilizing Watts’ approach to sales don’t concentrate on showing potential customers everything a product is capable of doing. Instead, they pinpoint the real-world problem the customer is currently facing and explain how their product can solve the problem in the best way possible.

So, it sounds simple enough: Solution selling is finding ways you can make your customers’ lives better with your product. However, to begin to profit from solution selling, you need to master these Four Steps to Solution Selling.

Four Steps to Solution Selling

Here is the secret process of getting the most from solution selling. Following these steps can help supercharge your sales team.

Know what you have to offer.

Without the knowledge about the products or services your company offers, it is almost impossible for your sales team to solve the problems for prospective customers. Make sure each salesperson knows precisely what he is selling, and keep your staff up-to-date by using frequent e-learning and live training sessions to go over new releases and to review the capability of older products.

Have a game plan ready.

Before any member of your sales team approaches a potential customer, make sure he does his homework first. The seller needs to have a clear understanding of the customers’ needs, what potential problems the customer may be experiencing, and several arguments prepared beforehand to prove your company’s products or services can solve these issues.

Ask the right questions.

When meeting with a prospect for the first time, it is critical to ask the right questions in solution selling to uncover any problems and the degree of their seriousness. Although you should already be aware of most of the existing issues a potential customer is facing, having him state a problem aloud often makes the need to resolve the issue more immediate and can help close sales.

Suggest a solution.

Once a potential customer admits he has a problem, it is the perfect time to offer a solution using one of your products or services. Instead of focusing on the features of the product or service, talk about how your company can make the customer’s problem disappear. Convince the customer that if he chooses to use your the product or service, it is a win-win situation.

Solution selling works, but it may take some time for everyone on your team to feel comfortable with this new approach. Be sure to provide plenty of training and support early on.

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Author Profile

Tom Abbott
Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.

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