Effective people are those who can look at a problem and say, “how can I solve this?” They move through life with an attitude that gets them through every obstacle in their path simply because they have the ability to meet challenges head-on, look for solutions, and solve problems.
Some of the most effective problem solvers are salespeople. But they don’t become successful by selling things to people, they become successful by solving problems.
Selling isn’t a matter of trying to convince someone to buy something, but rather a matter of identifying a person’s needs and showing them how a product can help.
Here are four reasons why sales is really about solving problems:
1. Products are invented to solve problems
When you think about products like vacuum cleaners, space heaters, silverware, portable water bottles, fans, light bulbs, and paper towels, it’s obvious they were created with a pain point in mind. Vacuums suck up the dirt from our rugs, space heaters keep us warm in the winter, and light bulbs give us light when the sun goes down.
Every product ever invented was designed to solve some kind of problem, even if only for a few people. Before these products were met with heavy competition on the market, they were easy to sell based on the obvious problems they solved.
In today’s market, heavily saturated with competition in every industry, salespeople have to be more creative than ever to demonstrate that their brand solves the problem more efficiently than the others. For this reason, successful salespeople are not only able to solve people’s problems, but they’re critical thinkers as well.
Salespeople need to know their products inside and out. The must be able to gain a deep understanding of their prospects as well. They become successful by looking for unique ways their product can solve the specific problems their prospect is facing.
2. People don’t buy products, they buy solutions and convenience
When a salesperson is really good at what they do, they’re commonly told they could sell ice to an Eskimo. The joke is that Eskimos are surrounded by ice, so you must be really good if you can get someone to buy something they already have free access to.
The real point most people miss is that if an Eskimo buys your ice, you didn’t sell them the ice. You sold them the convenience of not having to go out and get it themselves. Think of it like fast food. Everybody knows they can go to the grocery store to buy the ingredients needed to make a hamburger for far less money than they’d pay at Burger King. But the convenience of having someone else prepare it for you and hand it to you through a drive-thru window is what you’re really paying for.
Successful salespeople can always find ways to solve problems people didn’t even know they had by asking the right questions, connecting with their prospect, and finding ways their product creates more convenience.
3. Every problem is an opportunity for a solution
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.”
Having a “can do” attitude is what creates success from what would otherwise be a failure. Underneath this attitude is a strong conviction that a solution exists and it just needs to be found. People with a “can do” attitude doesn’t give up easily, and find solutions to problems in the most creative ways.
Because they see every problem as a challenge and an opportunity, they’re the ones who make it to the top while everyone else is still trying to find the stairs.
And they’re not just making lemonade out of lemons by seeing opportunity in obstacles. They know that growth can only occur with a challenge because if everything were easy all of the time, there would be no reason to grow.
You want solutions-oriented people on your sales team
Solutions-oriented people are always looking for ways to solve any problems they’re facing. And they also know the original problem may not be the root of the problem. They’ll use their critical thinking skills to analyze and redefine the problem when necessary.
And although they may end up with the highest number of sales, they just might solve some internal problems, proving themselves to be a valuable asset to any sales team.