If you aren’t providing solutions to customer problems you are not bringing value to your customer! …and why should they continue to buy from you?
Most salespeople will tell me, their customers buy from them because they like them, or the prices are better than the other guy, or it’s just habit. This is not selling, it is order taking. I call this shallow selling because it takes little depth or effort, and you are doing nothing to enhance the customer relationship with you or your company. What did you do with those customers in the past month to enhance and build on the relationship you have and create competitive barriers?
“Solutions Selling” is just as the name says it is… offering solutions to a customer’s problems, even if they don’t realize they have a problem. Xerox selling strategy of the 70’s and 80’s offered customer’s product benefits, and in the 90’s we changed that to selling solutions. Find a customer problem and solve it with your product or service, thus eliminating the problem.
As those of you who have been reading my blogs the past few month know, since the warmer weather I have been focusing on the customer problem of trash storage area odor control. This is an area which is a big issue with most customers unless they have daily trash pick-up, and even then it could be an area of concern. I’ve discovered most customers are aware of the problem and ignore it. Understanding I have a solution to offer them is the first step, and then asking questions about what the customer thinks about the problem is the 2nd step. 70% of the time I have brought up the problem of trash odor control we have received a trial, and based on initial results, I’m expecting a 75% or better re-order rate. I have created value in the eyes of the customer, by helping them solve a problem they ignored or didn’t believe there was a solution to. This is a great example of not waiting for the customer to voice a problem to you, but rather what can happen when you start discussing the problems first with your customer.
Ever ask a customer why they buy a particular kind floor finish or disinfectant, even if they buy it from you? Thus, often the problem is getting an answer such as “I don’t have a reason”, when asking the question as to why they use a particular product. Sometimes the “problem” isn’t a problem, but simply there is a better way to do a task, or a more improved product, or less costly option. We get too comfortable with our customers sometimes and this leads to lazy selling or no selling at all, just order taking. Trust me, your competition is ALWAYS trying to sell your account, then you should be too.
Stop looking at the products in your warehouse as just your next commission check… and start looking at them as solutions to problems your customers already have. The next thing that happens is your commission checks are larger, and your customers aren’t looking at the competition any longer. I challenge all of you to solve a customer problem this week!
If you want more information on how solutions selling can improve customer relations and your sales growth, please reach out to myself and The Bullen Companies.
Jack Collins, The Bullen Companies