Are You Selling Problems or Solutions?

By Selling Power Editors

Think about the news stories you heard or read today. Did you find information that you could use to improve your life? Did you read something that gave you a positive feeling?

Now think about your customers. How many good stories do you think they’ve heard since they went into the office today? How many people have already contacted them asking for help solving dozens of problems ranging from the very small to the very immediate?

There’s a long-standing saying in the journalism game that bad news sells. But it doesn’t take a Gallup poll to know that more people are looking for solutions than for problems. The truth is, your customers have enough problems to handle in a 24-hour period. Good salespeople are eager to bring more value to their customers – not more problems. Here are a few key ways to do just that.

Consider the sale as just the beginning.
When a company signs on the dotted line, don’t let that be the last it ever hears from you. The sale starts when you get the commitment from the customer. Support after the sale can go a long way in establishing good relationships and good word-of-mouth business, both online and off.

Look on the bright (aka solution) side of the news.
Stay on top of breaking news, trends, and information that could affect your customer, and you’re one step closer to providing value. One way to surf breaking news is to use Google Alerts; however, for a higher-level service that will filter out the usual Internet noise and serve up targeted, real-time information from the Web, FirstRain is an ideal option.

"We frequently call on a potential client and are able to speak about some major development of the day that will affect that client’s business, and they say, ‘Oh, my goodness, I didn’t know about that,’" says FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher. This is a great way to impress clients, plus it gives you an opportunity to offer a related solution.

Turn features into benefits
. Your product might have a lot of nice features, but if they’re not benefits, they have no value to the customer. Emphasize what you can do for customers (not what you can’t). Your goal is to create partnerships. Look for ways to accommodate the customer’s needs by providing extras that won’t take away from your profit margins, such as free delivery or early pick-up.

Smile more. Never miss an opportunity to create joy for others. Decide today that it won’t hurt you to smile more often or share a laugh with a client. Life is much more than doing business. If you put more fun into your work, you will get more fun out of your work.

People want to do business with people they like. It all boils down to building a relationship and providing value that positively affects your clients’ bottom line. If you help solve problems, you turn yourself into a valuable asset.