You don’t want to be AN Option. You want to be THE Solution!
So, how do you get to be the Solution?
Well, just as an angler intent on attracting fish, best think like a fish. To attract Buyers, think like a Buyer and put yourself in their shoes. Ask them for their perceptions of what value means to them and you will then learn what their solution will look like to them.
Here’s an example of a conversation sequence that achieves that:
‘What will be happening when you get the solution you need, what are the outcomes you’ll be receiving?
Buyer describes the results they’ll be achieving.
‘I see, that sounds great, and how will that achieve those outcomes for you?
Buyer responds with how they see the solution achieving the results.
‘Ah, I get that. And so, when that happens, what is going be happening for you?
Buyer describes the value they will be receiving.
‘OK, I can understand why that would be valuable. What do you think you’ll need then to be able to achieve that outcome?
The Buyer may respond with a capability, or a product/service they believe they need. At that point strenuously resist your natural urge to introduce your product/service. Don’t do it!
Instead, continue the same style of questions to understand why they think the way they do. You can even challenge in a non-threatening way by asking:
‘How will that approach achieve that?’ or
‘Can you explain how you see that working?’ Or even,
‘it’s not clear to me how that would achieve the outcome you’re after. Can you explain that to me please?’
You see how in this dialog that you’re exercising your curiosity? You’re encouraging the Buyer to paint a picture of what their solution will look like.
In a Complex Sale, i.e. multiple Buyers, each Buyer’s picture will be different.
There is no ‘telling’ e.g. what they ought to buy from you. It’s free of your self-interest (which undermines trust). Instead, it’s solely about the Buyer and so s/he naturally becomes more engaged with you.
Trust and confidence in you grow, as you’re helping them to solve their problem, not selling them your product/service.
Then the magic happens
Can you see how this conversation just naturally engages the Buyer, as it’s all about him/her? Nothing engages a person more than having them talk about themselves! I call these ‘Natural Conversations’, as they’re much how you might chat with a friend.
When you interact in that way, Buyers will want you to collaborate with them in creating a solution. They soon come to regard you as the natural source of the value they need. In their eyes, you (and by extension your product/service) become the enabler of that value.
Then, they naturally buy from you, as it’s their solution not simply a product or service.
So, in summary, think like a Buyer and that a solution is something they’re getting, not something you’re giving (selling) them. You’re essentially enabling them to define, and ultimately get, what they value.
Returning to the example of the drill in my earlier article, the conversations to have with the Buyer then are about how best they might make a hole, not about the features and benefits of the drill you sell.