For some reason, people gloss over the problem and jump right to the solution all the time. We have pressure to close the deal faster and faster. But, if you don’t identify the problem - the customer’s pain, the roadblock to their success - nobody’s going to throw money at your solution.
The bottom line is, assuming you’ve got the problem wired is a huge mistake that accounts for more failed deals, bad service, and stunted growth than you or anyone else can imagine.
Make sure you are coaching your sales reps to slow down and LISTEN to their customer's needs. Consider using this Sales Call Evaluation Form to help coach your reps to success.
We found this article written by Steve Tobak for BNet. It provides some great questions to ask during your pre-call coaching session. Read the complete article
5 Tips For Making Sure You’re Solving the Right Problem
- Don’t assume anything. The “set up” is more critical than any aspect of any sales process. A wise CEO once told me that most business disagreements were due to conflicting assumptions. If you set up the problem wrong, the whole process is flawed from the start. Make sure your reps don’t assume you know anything. Make sure they find out.
- What’s the biggest roadblock. First, make sure they learn the company’s or group’s big goals and imperatives. Then determine the biggest hurdles or roadblocks to meeting those goals and imperatives. Ask the them to answer these question before the call: How is your expertise best suited to solve those problems? That’s what you want to jump on and help find a solution.
- Find out the customer’s WIIFM. Pretty much everything in business starts with finding out the customer’s WIIFM - What’s In It For Me. You need to know that for any customer or internal stakeholder. Examples: If you’re in sales, you need to figure out the right buttons to push with the decision maker. For the Apple iPod, users wanted a single, simple device to download, manage, and serve up all their music. That problem statement led to an elegant solution that revolutionized consumer electronics.
- What’s the customer’s pain or business problem? Four related questions every entrepreneur must answer to start a business and get it funded. One of them that is applicable for sales is “What big market or customer problem are you proposing to solve? Who (what types of customers) currently faces or suffers from this problem and what’s the nature of their pain?” Every successful business is based on solving a big customer problem.
- What does their boss need most to be successful? There are a few key questions to ask your boss that help you determine how you can be most effective for your client. Your value to management, how indispensable you really are, is largely a function of determining how best to apply your capability to help them to be more effective in solving their big problems and meeting their goals. If you’re not doing that, you’re wasting your time.