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How to Attach to the Customer's Largest Business Problem

by Rachel Clapp Miller /
Business problem

You've heard the saying, "Show up and throw up." The phrase for showing up in front of a prospect unprepared is all too often a reality for too many salespeople. 

Throwing every single element of your solution at a prospect and hoping the multitude of features and benefits impress the buyer, is a classic symptom of Seller Deficit Disorder. Sharing information that's not relevant to what your buyer needs gives the perception that you aren't listening to your buyer and perhaps, that you're way more than the buyer needs (Read - too expensive).

Speak the Language

Each decision maker likely has key pain points that will drive him/her to make a purchasing decision. Sometimes they may be the same, sometimes they may not.  Remember, as a salesperson you will get delegated to whom you sound like. Talk high-level business issues and you'll find yourself with high-level decision makers.

Dig Deep

While your initial focus, should be uncovering the primary business pain or key objectives, don't forget to dig deep. Don’t let the prospect describe the problem without asking pointed questions about the impact of that problem. A good way to uncover large business problems is to center your questions around money, time and risk. If you're talking to someone in a lower level position, they likely won't have the answers to the issues surrounding those three areas. 

Uncover the Urgency

Part of uncovering a high-level business issue is to find the problem that can't go another day without being fixed.  If a buyer has a sense of urgency to generate more revenue or stop the bleeding from out-of-control costs, you'll find there will be a need to move quickly. By dialing in on the urgency of the pain, you avoid distractions and the potential of diluting your message with less relevant details.

Differentiate Specific to Key Points

Once you’ve uncovered the problem, it’s important your buyer understands why it makes sense to purchase your solution over other alternatives. If the problem is big enough, the prospect should have concluded that it can’t wait andthe right high-level decision markers are involved:  Your next step is effectively demonstrate why your solution is the better one. Here’s how: 

  • Speak about your differentiators in a way that helps your customer form a link between your solution and the positive business outcomes your customer is looking to achieve. 
  • Be audible-ready to focus your conversations on comparative differentiation – how your solution is better and/or different than your competition in a way that shows value for your buyer.
  • Use trap-setting questions to effectively build your differentiation into the solution requirements

Your ability to differentiate is a critical component to attaching to the biggest business issue. Even if you do a good job uncovering the problem, winning the opportunity to fix it demands an ability to effectively show why the prospect should select you.

articulating differentiation in the sales process


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