In recent years the ever growing trend in sales is the “solution-based” model. This model approaches selling from the angle that the seller’s product or service will help to alleviate the buyer’s immediate problem or challenge. This is in many instances the crux of many successful selling organizations. After all if your product can make someone’s job easier, then it will be easier to market and sell. We are all searching for ways to make our businesses and lives easier and more efficient.

When one has reached the point in the sales cycle when the prospect is being introduced to the product or service and is evaluating the probability of purchase. This would be a great time to really show the benefits of how one’s product or service may overcome any existing challenges or problems inherent to the organization. In other words, seller’s solution fixes buyers problem(s).

When prospecting and searching for new qualified leads it has been my experience not only as a salesperson but as a consumer, that when a salesperson offers their product or service as a solution prior to uncovering weather a problem even exists or not tends to confuse the situation. It can and will turn many buyers off from considering an initial appointment or meeting to discuss the seller’s product. No one likes to be told or have it pointed out what they have purchased in the past is wrong or was a mistake. No one likes to be told they have problems.

Sales and business development people are known for taking the path of least resistance. When sales managers and business owners tout their product as a solution to a current trending problem, then the sales team will often mimic that message to their prospects. In the discovery phase of prospecting key questions should be developed to uncover any challenges or problems the prospective customer might be experiencing. This requires a delicate and nuanced approach. I have often found the following questions can make the discovery phase a bit easier. These questions are often useful when qualifying prospects for a next action.

1. How has your experience with “X” been so far?

2. How often do you or your team evaluate “X” for performance, etc..?

3. How do you or management feel about changing this particular product or service?

Most B2B companies are selling a product or service that their prospect already has a solution in place. It is the sales persons job to replace the existing vendor with their own. But leading with the solution in an opening email or phone call is much like putting the cart before the horse.

Good Luck and Good Selling!