Are you actively looking to partner with your customers and add value to them by helping them identify and solve their biggest pain points or are you just trying to sell them another product?
When we become so focused on meeting sales quotas and goals we lose sight of the real reason our businesses exist . . . they exist because we provide something of value to our customers. One of the most important tasks for any business is not to sell their product or service but to work with their potential customers to understand where the customer needs help and how your business can fill that need and provide real value.
I have seen many businesses over the years slip into the trap of myopically focusing on selling products or services. They spend more time coming up with the “perfect” charge rate sheet or the “perfect” product discount sheet then they do working with their clients to understand the challenges that are being faced and how they can assist the client in overcoming these challenges.
Guess what happens to these business . . . they become a commodity. Their services and products get discounted to unprofitable levels and then they become focused on how to overcome this low cost position through complex contracting strategies, lifecycle replacement strategies, volume discounting, etc.
In 2004, Keith M. Eades published a book on this topic called The New Solution Selling: The Revolutionary Sales Process That is Changing the Way People Sell. He documented a process that has been used successfully for many years. Essentially, it boils down to this – quit trying to sell your product! Instead, work closely with your customer to understand their biggest challenges and help them solve these challenges successfully.
Eade has a simple formula that describes this process. Note that although the details around each component of this formula can be quite complex, the formula itself is quite simple;
Pain x Power x Vision x Value x Control = Sale
- Pain – what pain does the customer have and do they understand and admit the pain exists?
- Power – does your customer contact have the influence and authority to make a buying decision?
- Vision – does your customer contact share your vision of the solution?
- Value – is there persuasive value in the solution proposed and does your customer contact agree?
- Control – can you exert some control over the buying process?
Don’t leave your customers in pain! Spend more time understanding your customers biggest challenges and working closely with them to solve these challenges. Spend less time trying to sell your product and services. Watch your business grow!
Which customers will you spend time with this week to identify and understand their biggest challenges?