Solutions-Focused Customer Relationships
as a Means to Earning Business Opportunities
With the consumer of today being much more aware, more knowing, and much wiser to sales tactics, there is a better way to approach a prospective customer/client.
It is to think of it as collaboration around solving the other person’s problem or helping them to complete a job that is important to them.
It is creating a value proposition of support for the other person – sharing ideas and knowledge and working together in a common effort. It shifts the focus from selling a product or a service (and the features they represent) to creating value by collaborating together to solve the person’s or company’s problem or job.
It is especially appropriate to situations where the solution or tool has a degree of sophistication in its function and value or when the cost of acquisition is significant to the potential buyer.
To begin, put your mind and the conversation into a collaborative perspective – how can we solve the problem together or complete the job in a better way together? How can this be a focus on the buyer rather than the seller (questions that drive a discussion versus statements to drive a sale)?
1. Diagnose and frame the problem together;
2. Generate solutions together, including what you are able to provide;
3. Cultivate a peer-to-peer relationship in the process of working together;
4. Identify achievable objectives/outcomes that can be realized;
Keep in mind throughout the process that you are creating value together.
Notice that this is not a pressure sales approach or a search for their pain, but a very natural process of working together, creating value and shared success for both parties, and building a relationship for the long term.
Adapted from “Is Your Sales Team Struggling to Sell Solutions” by Scott Edinger, HBR Online Blog, January 04, 2022