A Revolutionary Sales Process for Any Business
According to Keith M. Eades, the founder and president of Sales Performance International and Solution Selling Inc., a solution is a mutually agreed-upon answer to a recognized problem that also provides some measurable improvement. Solution Selling is a sales process that involves direct contact with a buyer who expects the salesperson to understand and diagnose problems before they arrive. Buyers need salespeople who can provide them with solutions that are convincing and workable; The New Solution Sellingoffers salespeople a practical approach to selling that improves individual productivity and organizational return on investment, as well as customer satisfaction.
Streamline the Sales Process
According to Eades, front-line salespeople need to streamline the sales process by diagnosing the buyer's business issues, supplying mutually defined solutions to the customer's recognized problems, gaining access to key decision makers, and defining measurable and predictable milestones along the way. First, the salesperson understands the customer's challenges, then he or she provides intelligent, accessible and proven solutions to those challenges. Solution Selling is a sales process that consists of these components:
- It's a Philosophy. The customer is the focal point of the process. Helping customers solve their business problems and achieve positive, measurable results is the basis of all actions.
- It's a Map. Solution Selling provides a map of how to get from where you are to where you want to be by offering an end-to-end series of next steps to follow. This includes pre-call planning, creating interest, diagnosing the problem, vision processing, controlling the sale, closing the sale, and post-sale tracking.
- It's a Methodology. Solution Selling is a system of methods that includes tools, job aids, techniques, and procedures that help salespeople and sales teams navigate the selling steps that close more sales faster.
- It's a Sales Management System. Solution Selling provides management with a process to analyze pipelines, qualify opportunities, and coach skills, thus increasing productivity and predictability. It also results in a high-performance sales culture.
Eades explains that buyers want to do business with a salesperson who has a good understanding of their situation as well as a good working knowledge of the capabilities necessary to help them solve their problems. They want a consultant who can add value to their situations. According to Eades, salespeople must add value to a situation if they want to survive.
Identify and Quantify the Pain
The foundation of Solution Selling is based on several underlying principles, including:
- No pain, no change. Pain is the problem, which can be a critical business issue or a potential missed opportunity. When pain is admitted and the value of the resolution of the pain is quantified, buyers have a compelling reason to act.
- Pain flows throughout the entire organization. One person's problems link to other people within the same organization. In selling, it's important not only to identify and quantify the pain of the person you are talking to, but also to link that problem to others.
- Diagnose before you prescribe. This allows you to understand the customer's problems before you discuss the solution.
- The three levels of buyer need are latent pain, admitted pain, and vision of a solution. Be aware of this principle and adjust your sales approach accordingly.
- There are two types of opportunities: looking and not looking. Only 5 to 10 percent of buyers are committed to buy something. The rest, with latent pain, are where the greatest opportunities lie.
- Get there first, set the requirements, and make yourself "Column A." Increase your odds of selling by putting yourself in the most favored position of prospects by finding opportunities in latent pain, and bringing them to an active state of evaluation.
- You can't sell to someone who can't buy. Target and call on people as high up in the firm as possible.
- Buyers' concerns shift over time. Recognize where buyers are and align selling activities with what is important to them.
- Pain x Power x Vision x Value x Control = Sale. Each element of this formula should be monitored as part of the sales process.
Why We Like This Book
The New Solution Selling offers a clear guide to making the most of the Solution Selling concept introduced 10 years ago by Michael Bosworth. Keith Eades has made the concept even more understandable by streamlining the entire process and providing time-tested insights into its guiding principles.