In crowded markets, it’s tough to stand out from competitors – especially if what you’re selling is more expensive.
Add to that the fact our prospects are more inundated than ever with information and challenges. If we’re not showing up with value, then we will be sent to voicemail and have our emails deleted.
However, there is a way to quickly differentiate ourselves and discover the specific challenges our prospects face, but most salespeople are unwilling to do it.
According to David Copeland, sales director at Technam Aircraft, differentiating ourselves and getting more sales engagement doesn’t mean selling. Instead, it means being the person with solutions to prospect problems. We sat down with him to learn how being solution-oriented makes the difference in getting more callbacks, conversations and yes – more sales.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: David says that to be a solution-oriented seller, we need to first move the focus from ourselves to the world our prospects live in. That means being familiar with our prospect’s industry.
Know the answer to the question: What are they in the business of making or doing, and who do they serve? Without understanding the basic challenges your prospect and their customers or stakeholders have, it will be tough to position any product or service as a solution.
This means taking the time before we conduct outreach to map out the industry or industries we sell to and learn about their business models, values, and concerns. This will reveal the challenges they’re facing and the solutions they’re seeking.
We’ll also need to understand our product as a solution instead of simply a ‘widget’ or a ‘service package’. What additional time, money, or satisfaction does what we sell add to the life and business of someone who uses it?
With those trigger elements in place, we’re ready to map out the questions and information we’ll need to bring to a solution-oriented sales call.
R – Repeatable: David says there are a series of questions we need to ask before we engage prospects in conversation, and a series of questions to have prepared before we pick up the phone or step into a prospect’s office or meet with them. If you don’t have the answers to the ‘before the call’ questions, ask your current customers. If you’re standing up a new sales vertical and don’t have any customers to contact, ask your ‘before the call’ questions during your next buyer meetings until you have some examples to draw from on future calls.
Before the call:
What’s going on in the prospects and end-users’ lives? What are the likely questions your prospects have about using what you sell or how it differs from your competitors’ products and services?
What are their end-users or stakeholders concerned with?
What do our prospects and customers’ end-users or stakeholders value?
How difficult would it be to change from your competitor to your company? What are current users of your product or service saying about doing business with you, and what results are they experiencing?
During the call:
What product/service are our prospects are currently using to address the problem your product or service solves?
Is it a product or service like ours?
How long have they been using it, and what results are they experiencing?
What could be better about their current solution?
What would it take for them to want to change solution providers?
I – Improvable: To improve the way you’re presenting what you sell as a solution, you’ll want to keep up on changes in your prospects and customers’ industries. What upcoming changes will they be concerned with?
Once you identify upcoming changes, determine how your product or service alleviates or eliminates the negative impact of those changes. This is a review you can conduct on a quarterly basis and what you learn can be plugged into your solution-oriented sales process.
If you implement an update to what you sell or release a new version of it, determine how those product or service updates will help with changes your prospects and customers are facing/will soon face.
M – Measurable: David says an important thing to measure in a solution-oriented sales conversation is: what items generate follow-on questions?
Some of your checklist items and user experiences will generate interest from a new prospect, and some won’t. You’ll want to measure the items that generate engagement over the course of a few calls so you can add more items that generate questions and engagement and eliminate the ones that don’t help prospects solve problems.