Prospects Problems are Solutions.
Coughing up the coffee Dan just swallowed, he looked at me rather stupefied.
“What exactly are you saying Christine”
“It’s simple Dan. Prospects problems are your solution to achieving your sales goals. Go find prospects with problems and quit chasing those that don’t have problems”
Solving problems help you achieve your sales goals AND helps your prospects achieve theirs too. It’s a Win Win!
Sound too simple right? It is simple. We complicate the process way too much by overthinking it, too many touch points with the prospect or having a fixed mindset.
Here’s an example:
You send an email to follow-up with a prospect because it’s quick and easy, instead of picking up the phone, calling the prospect and cinching the deal. In other words, you took the easiest way out for you, but it’s the least effective way for the buyer to buy.
Be honest…how many deals have you sealed with an email. It usually takes a phone call or a face to face meeting to close deals.
Back to Dan.
“I appreciate what you’re saying Christine, but my situation is different.”
(EVERYBODY tells me their situation is different! I can almost predict this response!)
“Our solutions can help every small business.”
“Really? Is that true Dan? Because my business doesn’t have the problem your product can solve. And I’m about as small as you can get.”
Dan had let the corporate mantra become so ingrained in his mindset, he no longer looked for problems. He falsely assumed every small business had the same problem…thus he developed a fixed mindset around developing prospects.
Are you doing the same thing?
Are you chasing prospects that don’t need or want your product?
- Get a piece of paper and pen.
- Draw a vertical line down the middle of the paper.
- Take your top 25 prospects and list them on the left side column.
- On the right side column list the problems your prospects need to solve. (Not necessarily problems your product solves)
My guess is you don’t have a clue about all of the prospects problems. Your job as a sales pro is to uncover all problems, not just those you’re interested in!
When all problems are uncovered then a big picture snap shot is revealed to you. Those problems you cannot solve, at the very least, you can introduce the prospect to vendors that can help. Who looks like the hero then! You do! Who brings value to the prospect…you do!
Solving problems in this manner positions you as an expert instead of just another sales rep. It’s a way to differentiate from the competitors.
Now that you’ve uncovered the “real” problems, what’s the next step?
Dig deep into the pain to create urgency by asking questions.
“Mr. Prospect, how long can you continue to operate this way?”
“How much revenue are you losing by not solving this issue?”
“Have you lost your best employees because of this problem?”
I don’t know what the right questions will be for your product and industry, but my point is, come up with specific pain probing questions that puts the buyers mind into a real thought provoking mindset. When the buyer says ‘I’ve never been asked that question.’ You know the questions are hitting home.
Beware of problem blindness like Dan. Always probe deeper within yourself to understand the prospect. Then probe the prospect to uncover the essential problems. Even if your product doesn’t solve the prospects problem, you can still be a partner by introducing the prospect to a vendor that can help.
Once you’re helped the prospect and he sees your value, then you can ask for a referral from his sphere of influence. Here is an effective exercise to use in order to help the prospect uncover referrals.
Try these tips and really challenge yourself to see the big picture in your prospects problems. The problems are the solutions for WIN WIN.