“Got problem, want solution!”
Sounds logical? Isn’t it?
Yes, of course!
But, is it true?
Not really and not entirely.
You must be thinking, “This guy is kidding. If there is a problem then you will want a solution. Simple. And that is entirely the truth!”
If the statement is true, then anyone who states a problem will want a solution immediately. Boy, that will be the day. Sales would be the most sought after occupation. Unfortunately, nothing is further than the truth.
In sales, the catchword is “Immediate” or “Now” or “today” or any other word that describes the “present”. Anything happening tomorrow or later is “hope” and “expectation”. Anything can happen tomorrow and you will be surprised how easily an expected deal can backfire and change from go to no-go, almost overnight, upsetting your projections and achievements. If you were to consider all people who will buy in the future as a good prospect, then, depending on what you are selling, almost every person on the street is your prospect. The telephone directory can actually be your prospect list. Not happening!
From my experience I have learnt that though many people state a problem and also want a solution, they hardly ever signup for the solution immediately. Why?
People often prefer to live with the problem rather than change to the solution immediately. If they can live with the problem almost infinitely, they will. Status quo is safe and comfortable. Until, of course, it hits the fan! (Remember how you put off your visit to the dentist until it became unbearable?)
People want to avoid risks associated with decision making. They would like to avoid “change” and its related ramifications. They wouldn’t want to be blamed if the decision to change (read buy) is flawed or even perceived to be flawed.
People also do not want to go through the trouble of setting the entire purchase process into motion. Too much time, and too much trouble.
On the other side of the table, the average sales person drools when the prospect states his problems and views it as immediate interest to buy, and hence goes directly from the prospects problem to his solution. This is the “Got problem, need solution” approach. With this approach he is just engaging in conversation and one sales meeting will be very much like all other sales meetings without much progress towards closure of the deal.
So what does the salesperson do? How does he change the prospects need from a I-got-a-problem(or even I-may-have-a-problem- in- future as in Insurance) to I-need-to-buy-now?
The salesperson needs to introduce the “Impact” of the problem and of not deciding immediately. He needs to talk of increases in costs, risks, losses etc. before he can even think of introducing the benefits of his solution. He needs to now talk like a businessman and not a high pressure salesman. He needs to calculate the negatives of every day of indecisiveness. While doing so he must keep in mind and ensure that every negative he talks off could ultimately be offset with the benefits of his solution or he may just end up selling on behalf of his competitor. He has got to make the prospect see red (maybe even irreversible red if delayed further) and the necessity and urgency in taking a decision.
So, “Got problem, want solution” is good for conversations, but to close deals faster than competition its got to be the “Got problem-the impact is too painful-want solution now” approach.