The Solution Selling methodology is a leading technique in B2B sales. This method calls on sales reps to discover the problems and pain points that their prospects are suffering from, and use that discovery to lead them to a realization that they need your product. By selling in this way, prospects understand the value your ‘solution’ will bring them.

Where Does Solution Selling Come From?

Solution Selling arose in the 1970s when Frank Watts developed a sales method during his time at Wang Laboratories which emphasized leading with a solution to prospect’s problems, rather than leading with the product itself. From there, Solution Selling was enhanced by Michael Bosworth and his company “Solution Selling,” which worked to improve the methodology. In his book by the same name, Bosworth explains the Solution Selling methodology in detail.

Solution Selling helps sales teams connect with prospects on a deeper, emotional level. By doing so, the theory states that sales reps can increase sales. In their book, What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story, Mike Bosworth and Ben Zoldan expand upon their ideas and continue to explore how greater emotional connection and empathy can translate into higher sales.

While reading the books is a great way to understand the intricacies of Solution Selling, reading this blog can help you begin to learn the basics of Solution Selling and allow you to start implementing the strategy in your sales calls.

How to take a Solution-Focused Approach to Sales

At its most elementary level, Solution Selling is best explained as a way of selling which focuses on selling a solution to a company’s problems, rather than selling them a specific product. HubSpot explains nicely that “‘What’ your selling takes a back seat to ‘why’ your prospect needs it.”

In order to do this, your potential customers need to know their problems. Sales teams practicing this technique need to do their research and understand the problems their prospects are facing, and the issues these problems cause. By exploring the pain points your prospect is having, they will be more receptive to trying a new solution.

Like many other sales methodologies, Solution Selling involves asking the right questions. The best questions using the Solution Selling method center around the benefits that a solution to their problems would create. It is then the sales rep’s job to make sure the solution the prospect chooses is theirs.

Solution Selling enables reps to sell customers on the benefits they will receive through their product, without coming across as pushy or forceful. With the Solution Selling methodology, sales teams must address the issues prospects are facing head on and express their desire to solve these problems at the same time. By pitching their product as a solution to the problems prospects are facing, B2B buyers have been shown to be more likely to agree to sales.

Perhaps the most important part of Solution Selling is explaining to your prospect why your solution will actually make a difference. Solution Selling is most effective when the sales rep can demonstrate real and quantifiable benefits to their solution. Highlighting that a need for change exists is the first step, but emphasizing the reasons how your prospect’s company will benefit from your solution is crucial.

When to Use a Solution Sales Process to Close Deals

Solution selling works particularly well in B2B industries with custom solutions. While other sales methods are particularly successful when there is a clear product being sold, Solution Selling is best for when the product can vary. Since the sales rep is selling a solution, rather than a product, the technique is extremely valuable when specific packages can be built to address different needs.

B2B buyers often have specific problems which must be addressed. Solution Selling helps sales reps provide answers to questions prospects have, and shows potential customers the draw of your product. Your solution is specific to their individual needs and problems. A great time to use Solution Selling is when the prospect wants to feel heard.

Why Does Consultative Selling Work?

The basic draw of Solution Selling is that it builds trust between reps and prospects. In order to successfully Solution Sell, a salesperson must express an extensive knowledge of the industry they are selling to. They need to not only help prospects understand their problems, they need to also conjure up custom solutions for these complex issues.

Solution Selling builds trust in the sales relationship by providing sincere solutions. Instead of blindly pitching their product, salespeople must express empathy for the problems their prospects face. A salesperson who has mastered the Solution Selling technique will make their prospect know that they understand what they are going through, and genuinely believe that their solution can help their company.

As it stands, only 3% of buyers trust sales representatives. This inherent distrust is ingrained in our society. However, with Solution Selling, one can begin to rebuild the relationships between salespeople and their customers through providing a sincerely beneficial solution.

Solution Selling is also successful because it centers on the return on investment your product provides, rather than just the specific features you have. It seems like a no-brainer that explaining the results of your features is more persuasive than just the features themselves, but many salespeople still focus too much on themselves, and not the needs of the prospect.

Make Your Best Sales Pitch with Quickcard

At its core, solution selling works because your sales team makes each prospect feel valued. Instead of blindly pitching your product, you are pitching a solution to the specific needs that your prospect faces. As a customer-centric sales method, Solution Selling creates much needed empathy and trust between salespeople and buyers, and helps sales reps show they really care about the well being of their prospect’s companies.

Solution selling has transformed the way people sell, and has also helped lead to other sales techniques.  To learn more about Solution Selling, other sales methodologies, and how to take them to the next level, check this out.






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Tom Abbot: