When you market your business – what does your “go to” ad messaging look and sound like? How do you reach your audience? Do you target one? Or are you selling to anyone and everyone? Do you showcase a product and tell everyone they should buy it today because of how magnificent it is? Do you include bullet point lists of the specs and break down how it works? In general, are you simply selling without considering who you are selling to?
We are about to hit you where it hurts…by focusing on selling your product and NOT focusing on the solution your product provides your audience, you are NOT setting yourself up for success. You are NOT giving your audience the opportunity to be the hero of their story and you are NOT setting yourself up to STAND OUT.
By creating this shift and focusing more on the value you can offer, you are telling your clients and customers that you care about helping them more than selling them.
In today’s blog we are going to talk about why you should be selling solutions NOT products.
Talking About Trust
Let’s be honest with each other – we’ve all been pressured or tricked into buying something we didn’t want or need at one point or another. (Probably a lot of somethings). Whether by a pushy salesperson or by a misleading advertisement that made a lot of flashy promises but didn’t actually deliver on them. Once this happens – brand trust dies a quick and fiery death. You feel cheated and lied to. You feel like you were used just to increase someone else’s bottom line without any respect for your own pockets. And the truth is – you were.
Over time, sales strategies have changed and evolved. But not fast enough. While long gone are the door-to-door tupperware salesmen and the telemarketers cold calling to sell encyclopedias, we are still seeing that “sell at all costs” strategy rearing its ugly head. How many times have you ducked and hid when the solar panel salesman came knocking on your door, AGAIN.
Speaking of the solar panel salesman, we know he’s probably a very nice person. He probably has a family to feed. Maybe he caught you feeling friendly, you got to chatting and since he was “so nice” so you ended up buying $20,000 worth of solar panels. This form of selling does make SALES. Otherwise they wouldn’t be out there. BUT, is it sustainable in today’s culture? The answer is no. Out of 100 houses, that kind salesman MIGHT get one house and that would be a stretch. And for the vast majority of the population, these persistent, door-to-door salesmen who refuse to take a hint are immediately put into a category of sleeziness. They are not trusted before any conversation takes place.
The New Sales Strategy Taking the World By Storm
While you probably have years before the pushy salesmen finally become extinct – our culture is seeing an enormous and positive shift when it comes to how businesses of all shapes and sizes interact with consumers. From fortune 500 companies to the small business on Main Street, businesses are looking inward and asking their marketing teams how to care more. (Or at least APPEAR to care but that is another blog post for another day).
The point is they want to build relationships with consumers that don’t just result in a one-time sale, they want these bonds to result in long term brand loyalty and advocacy. They want their audience to care about them too. They do this through focusing more on their audience, researching them, learning about their wants and needs, caring about the things they care about and providing them with products and services that will allow them to achieve their goals. Even the lifestyle that a brand associates with can serve as a solution for someone wishing to appear a certain way.
Implementing a Solutions Strategy
Old habits die hard. It is almost NEVER easy to implement change let alone something as fundamental as how you have done business for decades. But making this change does not have to be as complicated as you may think. As a small business owner you have put your blood, sweat and tears into your business. You have curated your products and services and no one knows them better. This shift only requires you to start focusing on learning about your audience and THEN once you understand their needs, finding the holds in which your business can provide solutions.
Forbes recently published an article driving home this concept saying, “Think of it as a medical exam. Upon initial examination, great salespeople are able to identify the problem and sell a solution. This is solution selling, not product selling.
It would be idiotic for a doctor to tell someone to buy a knee brace simply because their knee hurt. By digging deeper, you can make a root cause analysis, not a cosmetic solution merely applying a band-aid—and ignoring what could well be a serious business problem.”
Furthering the Solution Transformation
As a company we have been on a path to provide solutions over sales for over 20 years. And while the pandemic has launched the call for solutions based sales even further the concept has been decades in the making. While there are several books we could recommend to you as a business owner, Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller is the perfect book to read on solutions based marketing. The book can provide you with a step-by-step guide to creating a brand that focuses on solutions and places your customer as the main character! While businesses world wide are making the shift to solutions based marketing, Miller has discovered a formula that stands out among the crowd by making your target audience the hero and serving as a guide that will help them achieve their wants, needs and desires.
Are you ready to dive even further into evaluating your business? Do you want help rebranding, strategizing and implementing a solutions based strategy? We would love to be your guide and help you start serving your customers, build brand loyalty and turn clients into brand advocates. Connect with our team to find out what we can do for your business!