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Solution Selling Basics

To be effective in the solution selling approach, you need to adhere to three important principles.

1. Focusing on the problem

Solution selling is “problem-centric” — with the customer’s main challenge or business need — also called a “pain point” — as the focus.

Pain points could include:

  • declining product sales increasing input costs,
  • inefficient internal processes growing customer dissatisfaction,
  • lost business opportunities.

Whereas a product-focused sales approach focuses on the beneficial characteristics of the product or service you’re selling, a problem-focused approach centers on identifying and meeting the customer’s actual needs. You take the customer’s perspective, concentrating on how your product or service can fulfill the customer’s important needs.

Usually, customers don’t buy a product or service unless they actually need it. So it’s important to take a problem- focused approach, pointing out exactly how your offering can meet the customer’s unique needs. It also motivates customers if they know you understand their problems and are focused on helping them solve these problems.

During sales discussions, customers may try to divert the focus to issues like price, product features, or delivery time lines. Instead of responding with a transactional approach — focusing on the sale, instead of the best possible solution, you should try to redirect the discussion.

Keep bringing the conversation back to the problem; delve into it so you can fully explore the issues. Also emphasize the solution and how it can resolve the causes of the customer’s problem, providing value over the long term.


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