Sales Coach Christine Harrington
Sell the problem you solve

Sell the Problem You Solve Not Your Product.

“When you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.” – Christopher Morley

“Don’t sell life insurance. Sell what life insurance can do.” – Ben Feldman

“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It’s that they can’t see the problem.” – G K Chesterton

Sell the Problem You Solve Not Your Product.

What do the above quotes have in common? The focus is on selling the solution instead of selling a product.

And what do most salespeople lead with? A presentation focused on their product. It’s not the sales persons fault. It’s more than likely forced upon them by their employer. BUT… what do salespeople do during a presentation….most of the talking, instead of listening.

A high performance salesperson asks good, pointed questions (probing) to uncover problems and needs. In the classic sales presentation, the salesperson actually listens 65% of the time and talks only 35% of the time. The vast majority of salespeople talk 80% of the time and only listen 20% of the time because they have not realized the importance of probing.


I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of sales presentations because most I’ve used and seen are put together by a marketing department who’s clueless about selling. Most are boring and focus only on the product. Here’s a stat that will blow your mind…according to IDC, nearly 57% of B2B prospects and customers feel that their sales teams are not prepared for the first meeting. Let that sink in.

In this article you’ll learn 3 tips on how to sell the problem you solve not your product in spite of your sales presentation.

And there’s a Bonus Tip too. Drip these ideas into your sales presentation to make it more about solving problems.

Sell the Problem You Solve Not Your Product.
TIP #1

First focus on stepping into your client’s shoes and out of your sales professional shoes. Ask yourself, in your market, what problems could you solve? Then ask what 5-10 major solutions do you solve in your market.

Tip #2

Next ask 10 of your best clients, what problem did you solve when they bought from you. Be sure and ask if they are completely satisfied too. Track their answers

Tip #3

After you’ve talked to 10 of your best clients and tracked their answers, check for a pattern. See if you can identify repeat messages and common problems. What will emerge are areas of motivation that caused the clients to buy from you.

Bonus Tip:

Your 10 clients just gave golden nuggets of information that you can craft into branding, value statements, and sales closings. You’ll be speaking the customer’s language instead of sounding salesy. Work on incorporating their messages and language in all that you do in the sales process.

In a recent study, 63% of people will remember a story after a presentation, but only 5% will remember a statistic. Start telling stories from your 10 best clients in your presentations.

When you reach out to your 10 best clients, consider getting video testimonials. It’s so easy to do with a smart phone. You can simply incorporate the testimonial stories into your presentations. There’s nothing more powerful than your client selling instead of you! Position the testimonials at the end, because the most memorable part of a presentation is the last 5 minutes. Prospects are up to 85% more likely to buy a product or service after watching a video.  Lesson: use more video in your presentations

Plan your next presentation the best you can leaving plenty of room to improvise because surprises will surely happen. By planning your sales call and presentation, it will result in adding value to the prospect and to you.

In the end, solutions beats problems. Sell that. And don’t forget to ask for the sale.

In more than 65% of all sales calls made in the U.S. today, the salesperson will never ask for the order, but wait for the prospect to “buy”.


I’m really curious about your experience…if you sell by giving a presentation, would you rather sell with a presentation or without one. Will you leave your comments below?

Thank you for taking time to read and comment!


3 thoughts on “Sell the Problem You Solve Not Your Product.

  1. All of my customers in this nationwide market have the same problem my product solves, easily and economically. having sold to some of them inspires me to sell to all off them.

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