How to win by solving problems

05 July 2023

Selling solutions instead of products is a customer-centric approach that focuses on addressing the specific needs and challenges of your customers, writes Joel Dandrea

Joel Dandrea

Selling solutions instead of products is a customer-centric approach that focuses on addressing the specific needs and challenges of your customers. Rather than simply promoting and selling a product, you aim to understand your customers’ pain points and offer comprehensive solutions that meet their requirements.

In what many would consider a universal concept in modern times, this approach has probably never been more important amid both the attention and distraction economies worldwide.

Whether we’re selling a crane, a truck, wire rope, software, outrigger pads or a thousand different components and pieces of equipment designed to augment the industries we work in, it’s easy within the sales cycle to get caught up explaining the features and benefits of said products and-or services before we fully understand the customer’s problem.

There are no more quiet spaces; whatever you’re selling, someone else is too but, maybe in a louder, messier way. Either way, they might be getting more attention for various reasons – good or bad. All the more reason to take the time to understand your customers’ needs to more effectively market your service or product.

Absolutely, we’d all likely be better served if we spent more time with the customer to understand their real problems before offering our product or service as the answer, but that’s not always possible. So, the goal should be to engage with them as much as possible while also doing our homework – until we fully understand their issues and needs. Getting below the surface at what’s underneath might help you discover what’s preventing them from being successful.

In this way, we hopefully arrive at a place where we’re better positioned to offer them a solution that will serve them over the long-term, based on what we know about their true pain points.

Aim to build

Attempting to truly listen to and understand peoples’ problems also builds trust. And people buy from people they trust. Over and over again.

Some points to keep in mind within the solutions-based selling approach:

  • Identify customer needs: Take the time to truly understand your customers’ needs, goals and challenges. Conduct market research, engage in conversations with your target audience and analyse feedback to gain insights into their pain points.
  • Customisation and personalisation: Tailor your solutions to fit the unique requirements of each customer. This may involve offering different product configurations, bundling complementary services or providing personalised recommendations based on their specific situation.
  • Communication and value proposition: Clearly communicate the value your solution provides in addressing the customer’s challenges. Focus on the benefits and outcomes rather than solely highlighting product features. Explain how your solution solves their problems and improves their situation.
  • Consultative selling: Adopt a consultative approach by becoming a trusted advisor to your customers. Offer expert guidance and insights, showcase your industry knowledge and assist them in making informed decisions. This builds trust and strengthens your customer relationships.
  • Continuous support: Offer ongoing support and assistance to ensure the successful implementation and utilisation of your solution. This may involve providing training, troubleshooting assistance and regular check-ins to address any concerns or challenges that arise.
  • Long-term partnerships: Aim to build long-term partnerships with your customers rather than focusing solely on individual transactions. By consistently delivering value and demonstrating your commitment to their success, you can foster loyalty and generate repeat business.
  • And don’t forget, by offering comprehensive solutions and emphasising the value you bring, you can differentiate yourself from competitors and build stronger customer relationships – no matter how many of your contemporaries campaign for quantity over quality and no matter how loud the noise is within your space.

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