It makes my teeth grate! You see businesses use the term “solutions” all the time. They tell you they offer a “solution”. Some businesses even use the term as part of their name (Side note: I was going to use a fictitious example but thought I’d better check in Google. Good thing I did; for every example I tried, I found a real business - oops).
They claim to sell ‘solutions’ in the hope they can charge a premium or perform some miracle that will instantly differentiate them from their competitors.
Now there is nothing wrong with providing solutions. In fact, you wouldn’t be in business if you didn’t have a product or service that someone wanted.
Why do they want your solution? Because they have a need, a want, a problem they want to go away. And that is the key – the problem.
Your product or service will have features and benefits. You must demonstrate that the features and benefits of your product will solve their problem, and that they can believe your claims.
As I wrote in The Challenge of Customer Awareness you need to approach your target market with a targeted message; the same message will not convert all. Ineffective sales messages are a waste of money.
Seth Godin says, “No business buys a solution for a problem they don’t have.”
The benefits that are the core of your “solution” are “converters”. They're not “attractors”. The problems your prospect has are the attractors. When you jump straight to trying to sell your solution you end up trying to do the conversion before the attraction--which is logically not the best way to go.
It is your recognition of their problem that first attracts the prospect’s interest. “That’s me!”
Never start the process (of solving a problem) by proposing a solution. First, decision makers and influencers must agree on the nature and importance of the problem. The first step in solving a problem is to know what the problem is. Don't offer a solution before you have taken the time to accurately define the problem.
How aware is your market about the problem, their need for a solution, and of course, your solution specifically?
As I suggest to clients when helping them write tenders are proposals, don’t start your response with your offer, or even your value proposition, and you must have a value proposition (or Unique Sales Proposition) for them. That will just turn them off.
Start with your understanding of their problem, and their requirement. Alan Dupont said it well, “If we don't understand the problem, we won't find solutions”.
When issues are complex, analysis is difficult, and solutions are hard to find, it often pays to step back and take a sober, detached look at the problem, and demonstrate your understanding of the depth of that problem.
What makes it a solution is that someone is looking for it. Putting the solution before the problem doesn’t attract your buyer.
Remember people buy for emotional reasons, but justify their decision with logic. Once you can identify the emotional pain you can make the connection with your headline.
Your sales message says “I know, I understand, I feel it” before giving the benefits (emotion) and features (logic on which they can rationalise the decision).
Solving problems creates value. And the more pressing the problem, the more value a solution has. Also, the more severe the problem, the greater the value the solution has.
“People are desperate for a solution to their problems. They want love ... respect ... time ... money ... ... and they'll sell their gold to get it.” (Drayton Bird)
Beware just making a suggestion. People pay real money for solutions, not suggestions. Suggestions are based upon logic, prevention and are usually theoretical and conceptual. Solutions offer relief, evidence, are being searched for, and deliver a specific tangible result.
It's only when there are no substitutes, or when the prospect believes there are no substitutes, that a much higher profit margin can be commanded. The way you do that is by positioning yourself as a unique solution to your prospects' unmet needs.
Simply broadcasting that you have a “solution”, won’t build your business. Being able to solve a real problem, in a large enough niche, and providing real value, will.
But you must start with the problem.
When clients approach me for coaching, clients with businesses just don’t make the sales they should, I often find their offers are all take, with very little give.
The problems often lie in their eagerness to talk about their unique offering, and not listen to understand the depth of the client’s problem.
If you would like to learn more, I’m offering a free consultation, yes, there is no cost – this is my gift to you, book a Strategy Consult here.
© Copyright 2017 Adam Gordon, The Profits Leak Detective
Some profit losses are pretty obvious - so you fix them.
BUT, what if you don't know profits are leaking, cash out the door?
Possible leaks could be anywhere.
Are there some clues or symptoms that are tell-tales?