Excuse me, while I pull out my "soapbox", I'm about to go on a rant!
Nothing irritates me more than when people confuse activity with productivity. We have created an environment where checking off our to-do list every day, attending meetings, and responding to emails means that you were productive.
That's just wrong.
You were not productive. You were busy. Busy does not equal productivity.
A Needs Analysis Meeting is NOT The Goal
With this mentality, your sales team has probably fallen into a very bad habit of thinking that getting a needs analysis meeting is the goal, not just the next step in the sales pipeline process.
Too often, salespeople start to believe that activity is productivity. And even if the sales rep does a good job of asking questions to the prospect and identifying the problems that a prospect is facing, it's still not enough.
Unless you can come back with a presentation that actually solves the customer's problems, all of your "work" will be for nothing. Clients are not interested in knowing that they have a problem, they want someone who will help them solve their challenges.
So, how can managers help change the culture of their sales teams from one that just focuses on identifying challenges to a culture that knows how to solve them?
3 Ways To Help Salespeople Solve Problems Rather Than Notice Them
1. Teach Salespeople to Problem Solve
The first step in solving client problems is to teach salespeople to know the importance of problem-solving. When a sales rep knows that they need to focus on solutions, they will be better prepared to become a solution provider.
2. Train Salespeople to Determine the Solution Path
Once a seller has identified the problem, they must decide what path they will take to solve the problem. There are 3 paths to consider:
- Implement the Clients Solution — Sometimes the customer knows what needs to be done, they just need help executing the solution.
- Tailor a Solution — Often, your organization already has a solution that you could tailor to meet the needs of your prospect or customer.
- Brainstorm for a Solution — When all else fails, this is when your creative juices can start to flow as you brainstorm possible solutions to meet your customer's challenges.
3. Provide Feedback
As your sales team begins to look to provide solutions, you'll have the opportunity to provide feedback and coach them to improve their solving skills. Be sure to be involved as your salespeople develop new solutions and provide constructive feedback to help them improve the solutions and the process.
Once your sales team begins to see that identifying customer problems is just a step in the sales process, rather than the goal, your team will sales increase by providing solutions.