Stop Selling Products and Start Building Bridges

Sales reps want to sell products. Sales managers want the collateral to talk about products. Dealer owners want their websites to feature products.

Here’s the problem: prospects don’t want to buy products, they want their problems solved.

Zig Ziglar was famous for saying: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

  1. You want to sell products.
  2. Your prospects want to solve problems.
  3. Therefore, if you want to sell products you have to help people solve problems.

Whether you are in sales or marketing (two sides of the same coin these days) your job is to build a bridge between the prospect’s problems and your products. The way you do this is by focusing on the problem and not the product.

Here’s the good news: prospects don’t expect you to be an expert in their business. They do expect you to ask about their business.

As prospects answer your questions about their business problems, two very important things happen. First, you get them talking about themselves. That builds good-will and trust. Second, you learn! The more you learn about your prospects’ business problems, the more valuable you are as a sales rep or marketing professional.

Why Do We Chicken Out?

We all intuitively know the prospect wants to talk about solving their problems and not about products. Why do we always tend to lean back to being product-centric?Why do we chicken out when it comes to creating marketing collateral? Why do we chicken out early in the sales process by asking questions like, “What kind of copiers do you guys have?”

Possible Reason One: We Are Self-Centered

This may be true for a few. But I have a higher faith in mankind. I think that most sales reps and dealer owners truly want to be of service.

Possible Reason Two: We Are Scared That Prospects Won’t Ever Get To The Place of Talking About Our Products

Here’s the reality: people buy from people they trust. Few things breed mistrust faster than someone who gives you the sense that they only care about themselves. How do you build trust? You focus on helping the prospect and their problems. Ask lots of open ended questions:

  • What challenges are you facing in your business today?
  • What are your goals for this year?
  • What would you like to see happen in this particular area of your business?

Possible Reason Three: We Are Afraid If We Don’t Focus on Products We Won’t Get Found Online

There is a fear that if marketing doesn’t explicitly focus on products the dealer won’t get found online. In reality, the way people are using search engines like Google is changing. Most people go to Google with “long tail searches”. Rather than typing in “copiers” or “copier dealer” they are more apt to ask a question like, “Are documents scanned to email on an MFP secure?” or “How can I provide access to my files in the cloud without violating HIPAA regulations?”

People mainly go to Google searching for answers to their problems, not for the products. The more answers you can provide to their problems, the more you will get found. And when they do find you, you’ll provide helpful information that will build trust. In essence, you are earning the right to talk about products.

Conclusion: Trust Zig

Let’s trust Zig. The more we help our prospects get what they want (solutions to their problems) the more they will help us get what we want (product sales).

Today, let’s be courageous in our sales and marketing. Address prospects’ problems. Get inside their heads. Ask questions. Then think creatively about how your product/services/solutions portfolio could be applied to solve their problems. That’s the way to earn trust. That’s a way to get above the clutter. And that’s a way to get found online.

Originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

About the Author

Darrell Amy: Start Your Revenue Engine

Darrell Amy

Darrell is passionate about helping generous leaders and their organizations grow revenue and impact. He’s the author of Revenue Growth Engine and the soon-to-be-released book, Exponential Growth. Darrell motivates audiences as a professional speaker, sparks ideas in growth mastermind sessions, and serves on the board of several innovative companies.

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