What if we stop trying to solve problems for customers?
What if the customer left with the thought of What If?
Problem-solving has been commoditized. It is an idea that has been widely spread with a great deal of research. A few examples:
- Dan Pink aspires to this thinking in his book, To Sell is Human that problem-solving has been commoditized. It is a new ABC of Attunement (Seeing – from other’s perspective, Buoyancy – Resilience, Clarity – moving from problem-solving to problem-finding).
- Matt Dixon in the Challenger series of books demonstrates the reactive problem-solving salespeople are at best average. It is the Challenger that goes deeper and extends themselves deeper into a customer’s business.
- In fact, there is a current myth that a salesperson is not invited to the table till 60% of the decision process is already completed. In fact, the likelihood that no-decision will be made and a customer will remain in the current state seems to be increasing.
Most customers know how to solve their problems. We win sales through a deeper understanding of the customer business exploring opportunities and helping the customer become more efficient or create better opportunities. If you are there to tell the customer that 1 + 1 = 2, you are there responding to a request for a proposal and nothing more. You might as well be a clerk. One of the most important characteristics of the successful salesperson today is the ability to facilitate the group decision making of a customer and his own company in the integrated model. As decision-making is commoditized there will be a rapid increase in artificial intelligence to replace the solo selling of yesteryear. We seemingly are already there with many of today’s Saas Products. It is the area of dilemmas that successful salespeople focus. The area of What If?
What is happening in the world of sales is that we are on the edge (or maybe already there) of a collaborative way of selling. We no longer can just sell to a customer; we have to understand our customer’s business and our customer’s customer’s business. The only way that I believe possible is if we are participating at the point of use of our product or service (Lean Thinking with Service Dominant Logic). But it is even more than that. We have to change, collaboration is not a one-way street. The best way to do this is to become part of the change. If we change the way we think and how we learn from and with our customers, we ultimately will create a better opportunity.
Another way of looking at this maybe if our customer leaves our sales presentation less curious have we really challenged them? Did they leave thinking What if?