For the sales rep, the goal of the sale is for the client to buy his product or service. Before getting there, however, the sale often plays out on other levels: Imagine yourself as a homeopath, and a sales representative from an antibiotics laboratory pitches you… how effective would his arguments for the effectiveness of his product be? Imagine that you work in industry, and are convinced that your problem is a communications issue that can only be addressed by television advertising… how effective would the arguments of a training firm for the educational value of their programs be? We could give many more examples, but in all these situations, the problem is the same: the type of solution being sold by the sales rep does not correspond to the client’s expectations. It is not even a product issue, it is a TYPE OF SOLUTION issue. The sales person must stop talking product, and start talking solution.
A well-known example of solution selling
For instance, you can see that there are no product names shown in this argument slide… It is a comparative argument for four types of solution: CD, Flash, MP3 CD and Hard drive. The argument gives no indication of the sales person’s product or brand.
This slide dates back to 1996. It shows that, in terms of music storage, the “Hard drive” solution is not only the most powerful (six times more than the next most powerful, 60 times more than the most popular solution of the day), it is also the least expensive (three times less costly than the cheaper option, and 16 times less than the most popular).
Clearly, the client audience is in the process of buying the “Hard drive” solution, which is why, after having sold the SOLUTION so effectively without ever mentioning his product, a moment later it will only take the sales rep a few seconds to sell his product, since it is the only one equipped with a hard drive at that time.
As you have probably recognized by now, the sales person was none other than Steve Jobs, and the product was the iPod, at its launch in 1996.
The paradox of solution selling
This selling level is a challenge for any sales rep. It means putting oneself in the client’s shoes, talking about his business, the possible solutions, and their advantages and disadvantages. The paradox of solution selling is that it means precisely NEVER talking about your product or service!
See this news in French: http://presentations-de-vente.com/la-vente-de-solution-2