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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Why The Talent of Problem Solving is Essential for Sales Performance

Why The Talent of Problem Solving is Essential for Sales Performance

You have a salesperson who has a great, positive attitude. The clients love them and they do a great job at getting that first appointment and building a relationship with clients. 

BUT they tend to use the same few solutions over and over.

And when clients or coworkers come to this person with an issue, it ruins their day — it gets them completely off track, and they just can’t seem to find the way back. What’s the problem?! 

Is the individual's positivity not as high as it should be? Is discipline the issue? Actually, what you're witnessing may be their lack of ability to problem solve.

Problem Solver is the Basis for Sales

At the heart of every sale is the ability to solve the client’s problem.

Business owners need help getting their product or message to potential buyers, so they turn to advertising professionals for assistance. Sellers who are strong in the talent of Problem Solver have the innate ability to anticipate problems and find a way around them. They can brainstorm, think creatively, and come up with solutions.

These sellers take a big picture view of the sales process. They look long-range, see problems that might arise, and figure out ways around them before becoming an issue. It's also a strong indicator of success in sales. Salespeople with a strong Problem Solver trait are able to find creative ways to fix their clients' issues.

More Tips for Coaching Problem Solver

The Problem Solver Talent Struggle

On the other hand, a weakness in the Problem Solver talent can get in salespeople's way on a regular basis.

Since they struggle to find creative solutions to their clients' issues, they may rely on “tried and true” solutions that may or may not fit the clients' problem, or they may try to avoid the issue entirely.

Their default may be to run to their manager or coworkers with an issue and “leave it with them” instead of trying to solve problems themselves, so their coworkers may avoid them. And because they know that they're weak in Problem Solving, they may get frustrated or irritated when problems arise. Problems can distract them or put them in a bad mood. Even the smallest problems can literally ruin their day.

The Work-Arounds

While you can’t train someone to have strength in any talent, you can find ways to work around a weakness. So, if your seller defaults to the same few solutions for each client, or struggles to deal with unexpected problems, here are a few ways to help.

1. Supply them with a few creative suggestions at each one-on-one meeting and encourage them to brainstorm how to personalize these suggestions and make the suggestion their own.

2. Create a Problem-Solving checklist. List out the steps a seller should take when confronted with an unfamiliar problem. When your seller comes to you for help, ask them if they have checked off each step on their list.

3. Encourage your seller to create an ongoing mini client Needs Analysis that will help them stay up to date with changes in their client’s business. If they're alert to changes, they are less likely to be blindsided and struggling to think of a solution on the spot.

4. Work with your seller to create a research checklist. What consistent information do they need to be well informed and ready to help their clients?

If necessary, designate someone with strong Problem-Solving abilities to work with them. If they know who to go to for help, this will save time.

Great talent requires great coaching!  Make sure reference our e-book (free e-book?) “Coaching Sales Talent”  to get the most out of your sellers intense talents and Turn Talent into Performance.

Coaching Sales Talent eBook

*Editor's Note: This blog was originally written in 2017 and has since been updated.

Topics: hiring salespeople sales talent