Understanding the structure of solution selling will help you succeed in sales and sell your product better. A great salesperson continues to ask questions to better tailor a solution to a customer's needs. You would be surprised how far you can go when you focus on your customers (not your supply) in offering solutions to meet their needs.
Solutions selling helps you get more value for your time and effort while helping your clients find solutions. This comprehensive guide will tell you how solution selling can help you get ahead of your competitors, build long-term relationships with clients, and achieve higher sales volume. The guide also contains practical tips on applying solution-selling in your sales process for better results.
The topics covered in the guide are:
- What is solution selling?
- Five Core Ideas of Solution Selling
- Solution Selling - Tips and Tricks of the Trade
- How to Ace the Strategy of Solution-Selling?
- What's the Ideal Way to Supply a Solution to Finalize the Buying Decision?
- How to Deliver the Sales Message Like A Pro?
- Five Benefits of Solution Selling
- What's a Sure-shot Tactic to Closing a Deal?
- What are the best probe questions to understand the buyer better?
What is Solution Selling?
Solution selling was developed by Mike Bosworth in 1974 and has been used by many major corporations such as IBM, Ford Motor Company, General Motors (GM), Procter & Gamble (P&G), Citibank, and MCI Communications. It's a conversation-based approach to the sales process that focuses on listening more than talking and discovering needs instead of assuming them.
It is an approach to sales that puts the customer's problems first. The idea is to ask questions instead of talking, so you can figure out precisely what your customer needs before pitching a solution. This will not only help you sell more effectively, but it will also help you cultivate relationships with your customers.
The idea suggests that salespeople focus on the customer's problems and objectives first and then sell products or services to meet those needs. Instead of focusing on product features and capabilities, solution selling focuses on the customer's issues and how to solve them.
Five Core Ideas of Solution-Selling
Solution Selling was developed to react to traditional sales tactics, which focused on manipulation through product features. Solution selling is based on the idea that customers are more likely to buy from someone they trust rather than from someone just trying to sell them something.
To begin with, you must understand the essence of the 'solution' or 'problem/solution' sequence, which can be defined as follows:
- Identifying a problem – before the sale can occur, there has to be a problem identified by your prospect which they believe can be solved by your product or service. It is not enough that they require your product or service – they have to have a specific problem that your product or service can solve for them.
- Offering a solution – once you have established their problem, you must then provide them with an answer to that problem. In other words, you must demonstrate how your product or service will help them fix their problem and achieve their desired result.
- Solving the prospect's problems – once you have identified and offered a solution to the prospect's issues, it is now up to you to ensure that they are happy with the purchase results.
- Know your product/service better than anyone else – Solution selling emphasizes knowing your products and services well and answering any questions your client might ask you during the sales process.
- Understand that selling any product, service, or idea is a process - The sale starts when you first engage the customer. And the sale continues until your customer is delighted with their purchase.
As a result, solution sellers focus on building a relationship with their customers before attempting to make any sale. Although it can be used for any sale, solution selling is particularly effective in complex sales situations with many obstacles or gaps between their needs. Solution selling can help you reach your own goals as a salesperson and address your customers' needs and work to achieve their goals.
Solution Selling - Tips and Tricks of the Trade
You can't expect to be an expert in this field overnight. Selling has its own set of rules which you will need to follow if you wish to succeed. This article will provide you with several tips and tricks that will help improve your selling skills.
Solutions sell - this is a common saying in the sales pipeline. The buyer wants a solution, not just a product! The way you sell the product is to sell the answer first. You have to find out what the buyer wants to achieve and then find a way to offer that as part of your product or service.
Here are a few practical tips:
- Get the prospect talking about their business situation and challenges
- Use insightful questions to get them talking
- Listen actively and try to understand their needs
- Ask more questions
- Identify a specific need for your product or service, and help them identify the benefits they stand to gain from your products or services.
- Present a solution that addresses their needs, then ask for an order
How to Ace the Strategy of Solution-Selling?
It is often called "outside-in" selling because it focuses on discovering the customer's perspective and working from the outside-in to determine what they need to succeed.
Solution selling can be used in many different industries and for many different products and services. It doesn't matter if you are selling technology or office supplies – solution selling can be applied in any industry, with any product or service, and for any customer.
The premise behind solution selling is that it prevents the need for lengthy sales cycles and minimizes the back-and-forth between seller and buyer. Solution selling aims to get you to the sale as quickly as possible by identifying your customer's essential needs and working with them to customize an ideal solution.
What's the Ideal Way to Supply a Solution to Finalize the Buying Decision?
That process is where this methodology shines, but it's also the aspect that makes solution selling so challenging to execute. It would be best if you gained a deep understanding of your client's business and the competitive landscape within their industry before you can move forward with the sale.
Vendors who don't understand their customers' needs can quickly sabotage themselves without even realizing it. They make seemingly intelligent suggestions that ultimately harm their net sales efforts by taking what they think are logical steps in the sales process. A salesperson may believe that creating urgency or focusing on price will quickly close a deal, but these strategies might backfire if they're not aligned with the customer's wants.
Solution selling is ideal for those situations where you have an existing relationship or connection with a prospect or client where trust has already been established. Solution selling builds on that trust by working with your client to determine their needs and then using those needs to create a customized solution.
How to Deliver the Sales Message Like A Pro?
Solution selling is a sales qualification topic that can be applied to an endless number of business situations. It is the art of delivering the right message to your prospect at the right time to make a sale or create a client for life.
The sales message aims to persuade your prospect that your product or service is better than those offered by your competitors. The formula for a successful sales message is:
1) Understand the needs, wants and desires of your prospect
2) Outline how you can fulfil those needs, wants and desires
3) Close the sale by asking for the order
The ideal sales motivation should be a dialogue, not a monologue. This is because it involves two people: you and your prospect. It should be somewhat like a tennis match: there's a certain amount of giving and take; each serves; each return; and each keeps trying to make the ball go to the other side.
Once you have established some trust with your customers, it is time for you to ask questions about their goals and challenges concerning the product or service that you are trying to sell them.
Five Benefits of Solution Selling
Solution Selling is a strategy that salespeople use to help customers overcome their objections and close the sale. Here are five benefits of solution-selling:
- Eliminates objections - Every objection is an opportunity to create a new sale. You can't make a sale if you don't ask, and you won't get the order unless you deal with objections. Solution selling helps you find out what's important to them, how much they're willing to spend, and the best way to close the sale.
- Improves quality of life - A person can't buy something that doesn't solve their problem or improve their life somehow. Solution selling helps you understand what's important to them and how your product or service meets those needs.
- Helps you set goals and targets - Objectives and goals are useless without good salespeople who know how to achieve them and what results they're expected to accomplish for each plan. Solution selling helps salespeople precisely understand the goals to focus on achieving those goals instead of just meeting quotas or making a sales invoice.
- Establishes relationships with customers and suppliers - Salespeople need both customers and suppliers to succeed in business, so they must create strong relationships with both groups. Good customer relationships lead to long-term partnerships and loyalty.
- Increase in Profitability - Focus on specifically tailored solutions for clients' needs rather than just trying to sell them products or services they don't want or need. Solution selling ensures that your customers are getting what they want most at the right price with optimum results.
Solution selling, also known as consultative selling, is a sales call that has been proven to boost sales and customer satisfaction. It focuses on the needs of the client rather than just selling a product or service. Solution selling allows you to frame your offering to solve a unique problem for your customer rather than how it fits into your product catalogue.
What's a Sure-shot Tactic to Closing a Deal?
There should be no set pattern for presenting your solution to the prospect. There are different ways of doing this, depending on your relationship with the opportunity, the type of product featured in your presentation, and how you want to approach the presentation.
One basic format that will work in almost any situation is this:
1) Lead into what you're going to say by building rapport with your prospect
2) Present your solution - what you're offering and why it's better than what's currently available and
3) Close by asking for an order or some other sign of commitment from the prospect
When you get started, don't lead off with any technical talk or hard-sell tactics. They don't get results! Instead, ask questions, get to know your prospect's business, and show him how you can improve his operation. Reveal your solution gradually. If you're going to use a demo model in the presentation, share valuable insights too.
What are the best probe questions to understand the buyer better?
These questions can be concrete and tactical, or they can be more strategic and assessment based.
Probe questions are an excellent way for sellers to learn more about buyer needs and expectations, and they're a fantastic way to help you find out if the buyer is interested in doing business with you.
When it comes to a sales quotation, asking the right questions can be the difference between closing a deal and losing out.
The questions are designed to get your prospect talking about their needs, issues, concerns, and problems because that's where you'll find opportunities to introduce your product or service. Probe questions are open-ended questions that require more than one word as an answer. They enable you to uncover hidden objections and uncover needs so you can create value for your customer.
Here are some of the most popular probe questions:
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- How do you see this solution helping you?
- What is behind your interest in this product/service/solution?
- Why did you come to us (us, company, vendor)?
- What other vendors did you consider?
The Bottom Line
Solution selling goes beyond asking what you can do for your customer but instead focuses on understanding what they need and then providing it in a way that makes sense for them. It's not about what you want or how you can make money from them, but instead about meeting their needs and giving them solutions to help improve their business.
It is effective because it considers more human factors than traditional sales techniques; it believes in the consumer's emotions, the background of the company, and its needs.
How Deskera Can Assist You?
Whether you are a sales manager or running your own business, there are tons of duties and responsibilities that you have to fulfill. Using the Deskera CRM system, you can manage your contacts, leads and sales deals. You can use the CRM system to manage all customer data and manage your leads, deals and your sales quota.
Doing so will help you to save the time taken in transferring customer data between the different systems. Having a good CRM system will help you manage your financial and sales reports and be prepared to kick-off your meetings.
Deskera can also assist you with real-time updates about your business like cash flow status, customer satisfaction, inventory management, sales, purchases, purchase orders, customer tickets, customer satisfaction, managing leads, revenues, profit, and loss statements, and balance sheets.
Moreover, it would also help in integrating sales methodology across different platforms onto one system so that you have a consolidated list for email campaigns, leads management, and sales pipeline to mention a few.
It will also help you to sync between your orders, payments, taxes, refunds, product variants, sending out invoices and reminders, facilitating invoice management, and even undertaking follow-ups and advertisement campaigns.
Such a consolidated platform will help you to improve your sales through building effective sales compensation plans and also facilitate faster and well-informed decision-making. It will help you in strengthening your opportunities and being braced for the threats.
The essence of solution selling is a belief that the best way to generate sales in a given opportunity is to focus on providing solutions to the customer's problems rather than focusing on the features and benefits of your products and services.
This guide gives you insights as follows:
-The continuum of solution selling
-How to be an advisor first and a salesperson second
-Closing the sale: Dealing with objections and closing the sale counteroffer style
-Getting referrals and testimonials
-Setting up meetings and keeping them productive
-Helping clients make decisions faster
-Turning clients into raving fans
Solution selling is an interactive process that requires sellers to tailor their approach to each client's unique needs. To create successful solutions, sellers must identify the business problems that stand in the way of achieving their clients' objectives.
This is where Deskera CRM and Sales Pipeline comes into play to streamline different cycles and processes involved in the solution-selling methodology.