The Eighth Step in Becoming a Sales SuperStar involves Creative Problem Solving. The key word is “Creative.” Most problem solving is by the book or problem solving by first thought. Or the least effective problem solving, by taking an internal point of view (what’s best for the company) without any thought or discussion as to the impact on the customer.
Okay, here are the pitfalls I have seen in sales situations relative to problem solving: First, the problem is discovered and the sales person states – that’s not our policy and ends the conversation. Bad move. This action just shows the customer that the sales person is lazy and inflexible to discuss possible solutions.
By the way, large account prospects will test how flexible and customer oriented you are by giving you a problem solving test during the mid-stages of the sales process. They will ask how you would handle such unique or different type of requests – just to see how you handle it! If you are not willing to discuss the issue, show a solution attitude to the process, then they know you are just a talking head with no depth or flexibility. They want to know what you would do early – before they are committed to you – are you customer oriented or just following the rules of your company?
Second, when the risk of buying is high the customer wants to know that you are going to be fair and represent them well in any situation. They want to know they can count on you for help when the problems are big or small. Telling a customer or prospect on a knee jerk response that “We Can’t Do That” will not build any confidence or trust in your abilities. Get aggressive and ask questions and find a solution.
Third, I have seen sales people walk by a visual clue that there is a problem they could fix or recommend a solution and lose the opportunity to gain an advantage with the customer. This is usually in a situation that you combine your business acumen or industry knowledge expertise and help the customer improve.
Fourth, the sales people that shoot from the hip with the automatic answer to questions or problem situations with no thought about consequences. Thinking about the situations and circumstances can lead to alternative ideas for solutions. Then it is a matter of selecting the best choice.
Finally, two points about how to improve your problem solving. One, write down the situation as you see it. What is the current situation and the preferred situation? Do a little gap analysis work – in writing – and you will get a better idea on how to deal with the problem. And, second – use the 20 idea method every day to keep the creative side of your brain active and sharp. Your brain is like a muscle in the sense that it needs exercise to perform well.
If you like the blogs on selling and are in business to business sales – check out my book on selling – The Three Games of Selling. It shows you how to be a winner in sales – easy reading using football as an analogy to great teams – football or sales. Or can our office at 901-757-4434 between 9 – 5 CST – USA.