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Diagnosing a Problem and Preparing a Solution

After you’ve delivered a powerful opening message and a customer has agreed to meet with you, you enter the third stage of the solution selling process. This is the pain diagnosis stage, during which you explore the customer’s situation and discuss potential solutions.

Key areas of assessment

The main objective of the diagnosis stage is to help the customer understand the problem that needs to be addressed. This involves assessing three key areas:

  • main causes of the problem — To understand a problem and to resolve it successfully, you need to know what’s causing it. Through investigation, you might uncover numerous causes.
  • cost to the company — Every problem has a related cost, and it’s the issue of cost that’s most likely to attract the attention of businesspeople. If you help the customer understand what a problem is actually costing, you’ll succeed in making it clear how important it is to resolve that problem.
  • consequences of not addressing the problem — You should explain the consequences of failing to do anything about the problem. Some consequences are harder to quantify.

You can determine the cost of a problem (CoP) by adding its direct costs, indirect costs, and associated cost of lost opportunities. Direct costs are clearly incurred as a direct result of a problem. Indirect costs are less obvious and usually estimated.