While problems can serve as a wakeup call, and evoke a creative problem-solving response, successful problem solving still requires a determined, disciplined approach. And when it comes to sales, a salesperson’s ability to solve problems is one of the most important factors in the development of new business.
Technology can solve business problems.
In 1957, Robert Solow, Ph.D. of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) estimated that in a period of 40 years, from 1909 -1949, the United States’ output per man-hour increased 87.5 percent due to the progress in technology. His research showed that the growth of a business is directly dependent upon its ability to apply technology to solve business problems. In 1987, Dr. Solow received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his discovery.
There are three factors that can limit our ability to solve problems:
- Our ability to focus on problems is limited. During a sales call, we often switch from problem to problem, never getting a clear idea of which problem is the most important to our client. When our attention bounces from one thing to another, we never obtain a sufficient understanding of the client’s needs.
- Some clients often don’t know what they need, or they’re unable to accurately describe their problems. This results in the client shopping for a solution to a problem they haven’t defined.
- We overestimate the size of the problem and the time it should take to develop a solution.
The following seven tips will help you, help your clients solve their sales problems, and increase your own business:
- Encourage the client to provide you with more details. The more time your client invests in talking with you about their problems, the greater the chance you’ll understand their needs. Also, listening to your client shows that you care.
- As you listen to your client, take notes. Speak the client’s sales language and adopt the use of similar words.
- Ask your client what solutions they’ve already considered. This will show how creative your client is, and you could learn if your client has previously spoken to, or worked with your competitors.
- Offer statements and ask questions to help clarify your client’s situation. For example: “We’ve discussed several options for achieving [insert goal], what would you consider to be the three most viable options?”
- Help your client realize the advantages of the your suggested solution. Ask questions, such as: “Let’s assume that you’re choosing this solution. What benefits will arise from making this choice?” This question will reveal how much your client values your suggested solution.
- Identify the possible penalties or consequences of ignoring the problem. Ask you client, “What would happen if you ignored the problem?” This question tends to increase the sense of urgency a client feels to solve it.
- Present your solution as one option among several legitimate solutions. For example, say something like: “There’s a variety of ways to look at this problem. First, you may want to ignore the problem. Second, you may want to upgrade your current system. Third, you could speak to one of my existing customers about his experience regarding our new system.” Present your client with your primary solution along with two alternatives that are less desirable. This makes them feel like they’ve made the best choice.
Are you still unsure about how you can help your clients solve their sales problems? Call us today at 716.799.1999 ext. 102 to arrange a no obligation consultation to learn how Ulistic can help you, help your clients!
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.