Do prospects view you as a product pusher or a problem solver? It’s a tough question you may not want to know the answer to.
Brian Tracy, a well-known motivational speaker and author, said it best: "Your ability to solve problems and make good decisions is the true measure of your skill as a leader."
We’ve all had an experience where a salesperson tried to sell us something. They seemed to embody the definition of a product pusher. They told us (and anyone else who would listen) why we needed their products or services.
However, we’ve also all had an experience where a salesperson seemed more like a problem solver, trying to help us with a problem that we could not solve without their product or service.
The main difference is in how the problem solver takes the time to ask the right questions and help the prospect understand why they should buy.
Let’s take a look at a stepwise process for becoming viewed as a professional problem solver.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Market’s Challenges
You can’t become a problem solver if you don’t know your target market’s problems. That’s why it is important to map out the most common challenges your prospects and clients face.
Take William D. for example, a seven-year veteran financial advisor and coaching client who realized early in his career that he wanted to focus on working with business owners. He had never been a business owner and didn’t fully understand their challenges, but he did have his company’s resources and began researching the subject.
Step 2: Identify Your Target Market’s Solutions
Once you identify your target market’s challenges, it’s time to find solutions. That way, you can begin to put into practice how to solve their problems.
William determined that there were four major areas in which most business owners experience challenges: reducing taxes, having the right insurance, having a business success plan in place, and having the right investment strategy customized for them.
He went to work researching the products and services his company provides for each topic. Eventually, he became well versed in how to help business owners, but also in what happens if they didn’t get his help!
Step 3: Communicate Your Value to Your Target Market
Knowing your target market is one thing, but knowing how to connect with your target market is another. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to communicate your value.
The following are a few “musts” when approaching prospects:
- You must have a systematic way to find your target market.
- You must clearly state the three biggest benefits of their meeting with you.
- You must have a way to handle all of their most common objections.
- You must make a game from prospecting daily and have a reward/punishment system.
Over a few weeks, I taught William tools and techniques, which he needed, to successfully approach his target market. This process allowed him to fill up his prospecting pipeline.
Step 4: Solve Your Target Market’s Problems
To truly show your value, it takes what I call a “Structured Dialogue” in which you know how to ask the right questions to help the prospects explain their current situation, their challenges, the long-term implications of not fixing their challenges, and the value of your solutions. It’s a technique called S.P.I.N Selling. This approach sets the stage for you to solve their problem/s.
William incorporated S.P.I.N Selling into his first appointment process and as a result, he typically would set the second appointment before they left his office. About a week later, he would meet with the prospect again and ask additional questions with a technique that I call The Question Path Exercise to help them truly understand what they need before he explains his recommendations. This approach worked well and it didn’t take him long to get his business to the next level!
Why Being a Professional Problem Solver Works
Problem-solving works so well because when the prospect realizes they have a challenge/s and you have the solution/s, you are viewed as the expert. You are no longer selling. Instead, they understand that they need to buy.
When you use all of the previously mentioned steps, along with several others that I explain in The Advisor Solutions Podcast Episode #73, Becoming a Professional Problem Solver, prospects will view you in a whole new light as a trusted advisor!