Sell The Problem, NOT the Solution

If a salesperson can sell the problem, the solution sells itself. 


The key to selling the problem is to understand your customer’s problems. The point of the science in relation to a sales call is to anticipate your client’s needs as well as their objections. Within the discrete steps of prospecting, qualifying, overcoming objections, proposing and closing are a ton of sales techniques and tactics all engineered, like a good offensive football play, to score a touchdown. The science of a sales call is about predicting reactions and formulating responses in order to strip out uncertainty and ensure winning a contract.

As part of a sales call, a salesperson will conduct a thorough needs analysis. The purpose of a needs analysis is to assess the dynamics that are impacting a particular customer’s business and ultimately affecting their ability to deliver against their objectives. The needs analysis usually begins before the initial sales call and continues as part of that first call, oftentimes extending into several calls, depending on the complexity of the account.

Sell the Problem, NOT the Solution:

  1. Research the target company to understand their operating model, business plans and leverage points
  2. Discover who the relevant influencers are in the organization and determine a means to gain access to them
  3. Study and learn all the speeds/feeds and deliverables of the product or service they want to sell
  4. Conduct a competitive analysis to determine unique and distinctive selling points against potential competitors. (The interesting phenomenon is most salespeople only prepare and respond to the competition after they find out their potential client is considering them!) Related post: Top 4 Sales Mistakes to Avoid
  5. Identify potential objections the client may have and prepare answers to the objections
  6. Prepare a pitch based on the client’s needs and the product’s unique and distinctive selling points
  7. Calculate and prepare to present the client’s potential return on investment (ROI)

 The science of selling equips the salesperson with tools, like the needs analysis, necessary to engineer a call so that unique and distinctive selling points can be leveraged against the client’s business needs in a way that is superior to the competition. The science of leadership is very similar. It encompasses careful planning with a thorough understanding of drivers and pressures that may impede or enhance the delivery of results.

Altogether, whether in sales or leadership, the science is all about robust planning, selling value and delivering results.

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