Sell the problem you solve, Not the product you make

Some of the most effective sales strategies stand the test of time. It's why even today, one of the most important sales techniques continues to be about focusing on selling the solution to a customer's problem rather than the product itself.

 This approach helps to position the product or service as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. It enables the business to connect with the customer on a deeper level and is more likely to lead to a sale.

Of course, it requires active listening, a thorough understanding of the customer's needs, and the ability to position the product or service as a problem-solver. By taking this approach, you can build longer-lasting connections with customers, establish market trust and credibility, and ultimately increase sales.


But how does this pan out in the real world?

 Let's look at two examples featuring restaurants.

 In the first scenario, a customer is looking to celebrate a special occasion with a group of friends. Rather than simply recommending the most popular dishes on the menu, the server asks the customer about the occasion and their preferences. The server then suggests a custom menu with a variety of shareable plates and festive cocktails tailored specifically to the customer's tastes and budget. By providing a personalized solution to the customer's desire to celebrate with friends, the restaurant establishes meaningful customer rapport.

 In another scenario, a customer is looking for a healthy option that fits their dietary restrictions. Instead of simply offering a few salads or vegetable dishes, the server takes the time to understand the customer's specific needs, such as gluten-free or low-carb options. The server then suggests a few dishes that fit those needs, highlighting the fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and healthy preparation methods.

 4 steps of selling the solution to a problem

 1)    Listening is the first step

 No matter which industry you're in, your sales journey should ideally start with understanding and addressing the needs and pain points of customers. As mentioned earlier, it requires intently listening to customers, asking the right questions, and empathizing with their unique situations. Start by gathering basic information such as the customer's industry, business size, and target audience. Then, dive deeper into their specific challenges, goals, and objectives. Ask open-ended questions to uncover their pain points and priorities and empathize with their situation. It is also helpful to conduct market research, analyze customer data, and keep up with industry trends.

 2)    Create ample room for customization

The next step is to develop a tailored solution that meets your customers' expectations. This may involve customizing features, modifying processes, or providing additional support. It is also essential to set realistic expectations because, as you may already know, too much of a good thing can be bad.


3)    Communicate how it’s a problem-solver

 While offering tailored solutions to your customers, it is equally crucial to communicate how those features solve the problem and deliver benefits to them. By effectively communicating the problem-solving features and benefits of your product or service, you can create a compelling value proposition that resonates with your target customers - driving sales and revenue.


4)    Follow up and keep listening

 Following up with customers after providing a solution is an essential part of building strong customer relationships. You should reach out within a few days of providing the solution to gather feedback and address any lingering concerns. This can be done through phone calls, emails, or surveys. When following up, you should express appreciation for the customer's business and ask if the solution was effective. If there are any outstanding issues, you should take immediate action to resolve them.


Final thoughts

When it comes to sales, focusing on selling the solution to your customers' problems can make all the difference. After all, no customer wants to buy a product or service that doesn't solve a problem or meet a need. So, it's not about just pushing a product but about providing value and making lives easier. After all, a happy customer is a loyal customer.