For years, I mean for most of modern day sales, we have been taught how to sell and pitch our products. The product has been at the center of all that is sales, and unfortunately, it’s a problem, and we need to stop.
It’s not that we haven’t attempted to move away from product-centric selling, leveraging terms like; Trusted Advisor, or Consultative Sales, or Solutions Selling, but the reality has been these approaches have been little more than window dressing, in spite of some of their promise.
Unfortunately today, we’re still using terms like the elevator pitch, and features and benefits. We’re still doing demos where we spend the majority of the time showing buyers all the cool, nifty features our products have. We request time with buyers to talk about our product and what we think it can do for buyers. We fill sales decks with useless company information about our number of years on the Inc 5,000 list or the year we were founded, how many employees we have and other self-absorbed, company-centric information. In spite of best efforts, too many sales organizations are still product-centric, turning out product-centric salespeople.
It’s time we flip the script for real. It’s time we truly dedicate ourselves to problem-centric selling. Problem-centric selling starts with the
Problem-centric selling isn’t about pushing products or selling stuff. It’s not about espousing “value propositions” and elevator pitches. That’s product-centric selling. Problem-centric selling is putting the buyer’s problem(s) center stage and asking a few very simple questions. Does this buyer have a real problem? Can I solve the problem and if so, what impact will it have on the organization if I do? Once those questions are answered, then and only then do you start to discuss your product in terms of how it could deliver on the desired outcomes.
It’s time to move the product out from the center of the selling process and replace it with the problem. Products are useless if there is no problem to solve. People don’t buy products, they buy outcomes.
It’s time we change the way we sell.