Solution Selling

problem-solutionOne very effective selling process has lived for century’s and that is solution selling. However, it is amazing how few ‘sales people’ utilize the simple and effective method.

So many sales people are taught how to present their product and / or services. However, they may not have a clue as to when it is the right time to present.

How thorough a due diligence did you perform on the prospective client?  How much do you know about their needs?  Completing a thorough needs assessment unveils the ‘problems’ which is what you need to solve for them.

What do you know about their written and unwritten goals, needs and requirements? If you think you have exhausted your ‘online’ research or ‘amateur detective work’ there remains one or more top executives to interview to obtain the other answers.

When you start at the top, work yourself down and then back around, you are officially equipped to sell a solution.  Consider it the “Victory symbol” as you gathered information from all levels and the lower you go, the more ‘dirt’ comes out.  Starting at the top is initially shielded answers and they refer you to different management levels below.  You now start getting fairly accurate answers.  Once you return to the top with your findings, they become more real as well. Consider attitudes and their relevant positions when valuing the information you hear, throughout the needs assessment.

Become very good at reading people and effectively communicating so you don’t have to sift through the answers for what is real and what is not.

If you need more help on this topic, contact me or leave a question in the comment section below.

Following is Wikipedia detail on ‘Solution Selling’.  Summing it up to this:

• Prospecting
• Diagnosing customer needs
• Crafting a potential solution
• Establishing value
• Bargaining for access to decision-makers, not bribing or giving product / service away
• Positioning proof, ROI (return on their investment) and the total solution
• Negotiating a win-win
• Following up to ensure customer success

CSea Perkins, CFA

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Solution selling is a special approach to sales. Rather than just promoting an existing product, the salesperson focuses on the customer’s pain(s) and addresses the issue with his or her offerings (product and services). The resolution of the pain is what constitutes a true “solution”.

This precise definition is a very accurate one when considering how Keith M. Eades, author of The New Solution Selling, defines a solution. In his book, he is quoted as saying:

“So what is the definition of the word solution? The typical response is, “An answer to a problem.” I agree with this response but feel it’s important to expand the definition. Not only does the problem need to be acknowledged by the buyer, but both the buyer and salesperson must also agree on the answer. So a solution is a mutually agreed-upon answer to a recognized problem. In addition, a solution must also provide some measurable improvement. By measurable improvement, I mean there is a before and an after. Now we have a more complete definition of a solution; It’s a mutually shared answer to a recognized problem, and the answer provides measurable improvement.”

Origin of Solution Selling

Mike Bosworth founded Solution Selling in 1983, based on his experiences at Xerox Corporation (the Xerox SPIN selling pilot project) began licensing affiliates in 1988 and sold the intellectual property in 1999.

Bosworth authored Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets (McGraw-Hill, 1993) and co-authored Customer Centric Selling (McGraw-Hill, November 2003).

One who espouses a “solution-selling” philosophy should be viewed in a different light than the traditional, “slick, snake-oil, peddling” salesman. A “solution-selling” sales professional generally applies a consultative sales approach to all aspects of their sales process (or during a sales cycle) including the following:

• Prospecting
• Diagnosing customer needs
• Crafting a potential solution
• Establishing value
• Bargaining for access to decision-makers
• Positioning proof, ROI and the total solution
• Negotiating a win-win
• Following up to ensure customer success

The Solution Selling methodology (and training offering) continues to evolve as key components of professional selling evolve. As a result, Solution Selling has become more broadly defined – to include dimensions of “sales process “; “competitive selling”; “value selling” as well as “consultative selling”.

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