Sales representatives are engaged in many activities, and several, it seems, actually distract from their selling time. This article focuses on one activity that is essential for success – Solution selling.
Solution selling is a strategic approach to your business with the objective of developing long-term relationships with your customers. These relationships can lead to increased sales and profit for both the customer and sales representative. In other words, you develop a partnership.
Think like your customer
Solution selling requires an investment on the part of the sales representative. You must learn to think like your customer. To accomplish this, you must understand what the customer wants. You need to be able to answer these questions.
• What are their value drivers?
• Why do business with your company?
There are many tools you can use to determine help determine/ quantify the customer’s needs. In the end, they all boil down to these steps.
• What is the need?
• Do I have a solution to offer?
• How does that solution fill the need?
Customers buy what they need to obtain the result they want. They don’t buy products just to have them sit on the shelf until they reach the expiration date and return them for credit.
Let’s take a look at the process in more detail.
First, you conduct a needs assessment, which results in you understanding the customer’s needs (the problem they want to solve). This means you’ve invested the time necessary to understand the customer’s unmet needs, or the needs that they haven’t recognized yet.
Next, you take a look at the resources you have available to help the customer solve their problem. This may consist of products, services or other types of support and expertise you offer. Take the time to determine the right solution for your customer. Don’t just try to sell a product or service.
Finally, you deliver the solution. If it’s a product or service it must meet or exceed the customer’s expectations. If it’s other support or expertise it should contribute to the customer’s profitability in some way – increase their revenue and income. Solution selling accomplishes several things:
• It builds confidence in you.
• It grows the business through existing customers.
• It results in customer retention and counters the efforts of the competition.
• It goes beyond product and benefit selling.