Product Selling or Solution Selling?

Peady’s Selling Engagement

It seems to me that the majority of salespeople are primarily trained to sell their product and then find a way to connect it to the ‘perceived customer need’.

Why? Because salespeople love to explain their product or service features and mostly prefer to be in that sales mode rather than solution selling mode.

How about you? What’s your preferred selling mode?

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

Ask a customer if the salespeople they meet really know what they want, really try to uncover their genuine needs. I have, and most customers say very few even try.

On one side, salespeople think they know what their customers want, on the other side, many customers say, ‘most salespeople don’t try to understand our requirements’.  

Why does this gap exist? 


Closing the gap

Prospective customers don’t want to sit through another ‘one size fits all’ product-based pitch. But they are eager to learn something new. LinkedIn research found that buyers are five times more likely to engage with a sales professional who offers new insights into their business or industry. 

So, how can you gain credibility and relevance? Here’s four suggestions:

1. Remember first impressions count. From the first phone call or email and F2F meeting the prospective customer is judging you. It all begins with you – the customer must believe in the person conveying the message otherwise the message has no credibility. Image, approach, openness, attitude, helpfulness all count!

2. Do your homework and due diligence. Before you contact a prospective customer research their business, their industry and the competitive market to understand potential challenges and pain points. This way you can demonstrate a deeper knowledge and understanding of their business, which builds your credibility.

3. Ask well prepared (and relevant) questions. How you question your prospects has a huge influence on their impression of you and the company. Great questions build rapport and demonstrate credibility; bad questions waste time and expose your lack of preparation or research.

4. Use testimonials and case studies. If you say something it can be perceived as a ‘vested interest’ but if you have evidence from a number of your customers in similar industries and supporting case studies to demonstrate the ‘how’ you immediately gain credibility.  

Simple piece of advice

My friend Mike Brunel sums it up perfectly: “Selling is not that difficult. Your job is to figure out how to fix your client’s problems, not yours”

It all begins with you, your choice. Product selling or solution selling?

Until next week enjoy.

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]