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Selling Solutions - Not Products

Sunday, March 24, 2013   By Mike Reddy


There's that old adage that no one wants to buy a drill. Want they are really wanting to buy is the hole.

Understanding what your customer really wants can improve the customer experience immensely. And a better customer experience means a greater likelihood of selling more at greater prices to loyal customers.

And that's a great way to improve business results.

There can be a downside. Understanding the customer's needs might highlight the fact that your product isn't well suited. And this may cut against the grain to anyone who's end game is the sales transaction.

Successful businesses put the customer first. They know that by helping a customer - even if that means not making the sale on this occasion - will create a relationship, trust and goodwill.

And with that will come the ability to truly service the customer. That means ensuring they have all they need to solve their problem, which isn't necessarily limited to what they intended to purchase when they walked in.

Teach your team the importance of selling solutions rather than trying to peddle as your competitors probably do.

Encourage your sales team to ask questions and then listen to their customers needs and concerns. It will work against their natural instinct to sell, sell, sell. The long term affects will be lasting and well worth it.

Train them to work with the “Diagnose/Prescribe” method, much as a doctor does with each patient.

This method also digs deeper, uncovering unmet customer needs that can be applicable to future services or products.

Bad sales processes often result in dissatisfied customers and brand damage.

Analysts often use the Coke can example. A customer does not buy the can of Coke because it is shiny and red. They are buying the coke as a means to refreshment, quenching thirst or for enjoyment.

The sales solution should therefore focus on offering a refreshing, thirst quenching product and not focus on the can itself.

It is not enough to convince a customer that they need a solution- they must need your solution.  This is where you highlight how your solution is unique and better suited than those of the competition.
Does your solution save time? Reduce risks?  Emphasize the differentiators when selling and take the focus away from the dollars and cents.

Purchasing decisions are made based on emotions, which are then justified by logic.  Address the emotional wants and desires of a customer, and they will develop their own justification to adopt your solution.

By Mike Reddy, Business Coach

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.