If you follow us on social media you would notice that we’ve been putting up a lot of pro solution selling tips recently. At the beginning of the year, we had a session about product selling vs solution selling and the “why and why nots” of it. And it got us re-evaluating our entire business philosophy right down to our sales process, in terms of how we are currently doing it and how we should do it.
And so the fundamental question to be answered is, as a service provider, as a business, what are you offering your clients? Are you providing a more “holistic long term partnership, vested interest,” type of service for your customers/clients or are you just “shoving your product down their throats”. Which would your customers/clients say you are?
A business that wants to increase its flexibility and therefore its position in the mind of its customer/client and make the shift to solution selling must start with the way it thinks- its entire corporate philosophy & culture and then build its strategy from there.
When, as a business you genuinely care for your customer/clients needs, you're bound to strive to create and offer more value and in essence provide better service. You're able to figure out what your customers require faster and most importantly, your customer feels valued, they feel like you're a part of their business and therefore it is more likely that you're able to put in more, do more and by virtue of that, create and provide more value for their business. They see you as their partner and not just “the service provider”
Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal not of selling a product or service" - Brian Tracy
The challenge however, is understanding how to go about solution selling. As mentioned before, It starts with an absolute reorientation of your business philosophy and culture, that trickles down to your sales team. It's much more than a strategy, it's a mindset. It’s training your sales team to adopt a more listening - focused approach to understand the customer/client better. Understanding their wants, their needs, their pain points as a business, what they know about your product/service and how they feel about it.
Simultaneously, you should be looking at how your product or service needs to be changed or modified if need be, in order to achieve your solution selling goals. Most solutions are more often than not a fusion of your existing product, service and possibly some additions.
As opposed to product related selling, solution selling ups the value you deliver by striving to satisfy both the needs and expectations of your customer/client as every customer/client has a need they want fulfilled and an expectation they want met.
If you're thinking about changing or rather transitioning your approach to selling, think about what the focus is for you as a business. If as a business your products/service are your key focus, it is doubtful that you will be able to engage your customer/client in the most relevant and impactful manner. However, if you’re centered on the customer, they know it and they can feel iit, the more you know about what they want, the more you're able to create and provide a solution fit for them, and that's how you’re able to provide valuable service.
Eniola Alli Ayodele is a Manager, Products Development & Marketing with Excite Panacea Limited an information technology hub focused on creating value for businesses through technology.