At first glance, the difference between selling a product or service and selling a solution may not be very apparent. After all, aren’t all products and services created to provide a solution to solve a customer’s problems?
Most businesses create a product or service that is a “one size fits all” solution. Rather than designing an offering to fit an individual customer’s needs, most businesses prefer to produce a product or service to appeal to a wide audience. As such, they are just good enough for most consumers.
In solutions-selling, the product or service is not a one size fits all solution but is designed to help the customer along their journey and address a specific customer’s unique problems.
When it comes to solutions-selling, instead of pushing a product or service, the business must create a genuine connection to the potential customer. The solution-selling methodology endeavors to create a lasting relationship with clients in which the goal is always to find new ways to help.
To get your head around this idea, think of sales as if it was customer service. Customer service implies spending more time listening to and trying to anticipate the customer’s needs to better understand their issues and challenges.
In the old days, it was believed that a knowledgeable customer was more likely to shop around and find an alternative solution. However, today increasing a customer’s knowledge actually fosters trust in a company and its products according to the data from Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson’s study, which resulted in their book titled “The Challenger Sale.”.
By assuming a teaching role, the solutions seller becomes a trusted partner in a collaborative process. By helping the customers recognize their pain points, sharing gain points with them that they were not even aware of, and anticipating and responding to potential problems enables the company to offer a new perspective which will lead to more business from happier customers.
Today’s customer is looking for a tailor-made solution, not a “one size fits all” solution that is just good enough.
Are you selling a product or a solution?
This post originally appeared at stevebizblog.com.