Salesperson vs. Problem Solver: The B2B Sales Skill That Helps Change Mindsets and Make Sales

Author: Christina Bruce

Salesperson vs. Problem Solver: The B2B Sales Skill That Helps Change Mindsets and Make Sales

When you think of a great salesperson, you possibly think of someone who is clear and confident, someone who nails persuasive communication. Someone who has spent hours learning their product or solution inside out and can talk about it all day.

But if this is all true, why do they often fail to progress buyers or close the sale?

I’ve seen many talented, smart, motivated salespeople and teams selling amazing products and services who still struggle to progress buyers past the initial meeting. Why? Because being confident and knowing a lot about your product or solution, doesn’t equate to being a great seller. No matter how confident or knowledgeable a salesperson is, if they haven’t taken the time to understand a prospect, their business, and their problems, it’s much too early to jump to a solution.

The reality is, if you want a great sales team that is progressing prospects through meetings towards a sale, they need to be trained to focus on the problems their prospects have – not the solution they want to sell them!

You can’t have a solution without a problem

Picture this. A salesperson drops in on a prospect and gets permission to show the prospect one of their products.  After walking through their product brochure and sharing with the prospect all the wonderful features of the product, they ask the customer if they’d like to place an order for 12 units.  The customer politely declines, informing the salesperson that not only do they not have a need for the product, but they think it’s pretty expensive too.

This might be a simplified example, but perhaps it resonates with you? You can be the most confident and knowledgeable person in the room, but you can’t sell something to someone if it’s not something they want or need. If you’re unaware of the customer’s problems, chances are you won’t be able to sell them a solution.

Diving into problems isn’t easy – no one wants to accuse a potential buyer of having something wrong with their business! But failing to have these conversations will lead to prospects not connecting with the solution or agreeing the need for it. And you can say goodbye to a follow up meeting.

If you’re seeing your sales team failing to progress opportunities, ask yourself – have they been trained to ask the right questions?

4 prospect meeting must-dos

A prospect meeting is just that – a chance to prospect! Salespeople should be using it as an opportunity to ask questions, get some insight into the buyer’s concerns, and understand their business challenges. But, more importantly, it’s a chance to make sure the prospect understands their problems and challenges.

Here are four steps every salesperson should be taking before and during every prospect meeting:

1. Prepare

It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often salespeople go into meetings unprepared. Preparing questions before every meeting is a must. Not only does it ensure your sales team have thought about the right questions to ask, but it allows them to check that the customer will benefit from meeting with them.

2. Ask problem questions

We never want to create a problem where none exist, but it’s important to have questions to get prospects thinking about potential business challenges and concerns. Problem questions are specifically designed to help customers explore the depth and breadth of their business challenges to start to raise their awareness of those problems. Good problem questions include words like concern, challenge, issue, problem, obstacle and predicament.

3. Build trust

Uncovering challenges through problem questions starts a discovery journey that helps sales professionals build trust and credibility with the customer. By demonstrating genuine customer-focused curiosity in the customer’s problems, they show the customer they are genuinely interested in understanding the issues that are most concerning for them. This helps demonstrate to the customer that they care and can be trusted to find the most suitable solution.

4. Understand their business

All of this work will help the sales professional begin to understand more about the customer’s business and in turn, understand what an appropriate solution might be. When both parties have clearly defined the problem, this starts to create a clearer path to the solution in the eyes of the customer.

It all starts with training

Asking problem questions and successfully having prospects understand their concerns and challenges isn’t something that comes naturally to a lot of sellers. In many ways, it goes against logic to temporarily ignore the solution they’re hired to sell.

But few skills in B2B sales come naturally! Sales teams need to be trained in how to adequately prepare, ask problem questions, and how to take customers on a journey – before they knock them out with all their wonderful product or solution knowledge.

That’s where expert B2B sales training is incredibly important, helping to develop fundamental skill areas for your team. This can sometimes be easier said than done, though. Expert training requires budget, resource, and time commitments that not all businesses have lying around. This is where fully developed B2B sales programs can help.

Selling Fundamentals™ is a program that provides sales leaders and consultants the ability to provide repeatable, high-quality sales training. It includes everything internal sales leaders or external sales consultants need to train, upskill, and refresh sales teams, including a key focus on meeting preparation and teaching problem questions.

The Selling Fundamentals™ program includes all content required for both the facilitator and participants, so it can be delivered in-house. Designed to build sales capabilities, improve performance, and cement foundational skills with your teams, Selling Fundamentals™ develops foundational selling skills for both new and experienced salespeople.

You can check out the pack or download a free sample of the Selling Fundamentals™ program here.

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