Is Your Solution Your Biggest Problem?
- I sell lawn maintenance services.
- We design point-of-sale solutions for multi-store retail operations.
- We provide accounting services for the hospitality industry.
- We custom design and fabricate outdoor signs.
- We sell and service large format document scanners.
- I sell advertising specialties.
What’s wrong with this?
The problem is that after awhile, all the descriptions start to sound the same. Not literally, but conceptually. The answers focus on the salesperson (or his/her company) and the product or service–not the needs or problems of potential customers.
By discussing solutions before identifying the need for a solution–a goal to be accomplished, a problem to be solved, or a challenging situation to be addressed–one fails to capture the prospects’ interest. Alternatively, if you bring the need to the forefront before discussing solutions, you elicit a different reaction. Rather than instinctively tuning out as soon as they hear “I sell…” or “We provide…,” potential prospects will at least listen to the description of the situation that your product or service addresses. At this point, they are now in a position to decide if they currently have a need for your product or service.
What should you do?
Preface your answer to “What do you do?” types of questions with a question or statement that focuses on the problem your product or service addresses. Here are some examples:
- You may be aware that large retail operations must keep a minute-by-minute account of their inventory to facilitate the coordination of purchasing and distribution in order to avoid out-of-stock situations. We design, install, and service point-of-sale inventory systems that allow them to accomplish the needed results.
- Have you ever wondered how people scan or copy large documents like 2 ft. by 3 ft. blueprints? We sell and service the equipment that allows them to perform a one-pass scan of these types of large documents.
You can introduce “needs” with other phrases such as, “Do you know how…,” “You probably haven’t thought about…,” or “Would you be surprised to find out…”
To get your prospects’ attention and arouse their curiosity, first focus on their challenges, then introduce your solution.