Sales Training:
Sell The Solution, Not The Product

by Tom Egelhoff

Author Tom EgelhoffWho was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean?

The correct answer is Charles Lindbergh, a name most people would readily recognize.

The second person to do it has probably been relegated to Trivial Pursuit® game card. That of course would be Bert Hinkler.

But surprisingly you know the third person to fly solo across the Atlantic and that would be Amelia Earhart.

So the question I have for you is this. Was Amelia the third person to fly solo across the Atlantic or the "first" ...? Exactly she was the first woman to do it.

Instead of wallowing in third place obscurity, she found a category to be first in that separates her from her competition. This is the power and magic of positioning.

Positioning is the technique of marketing and advertising your products or services in such a way that it groups your competition together and sets you apart as something better at the same time.

It's a very powerful technique. Here's how to use it to your advantage.

Why Do Customers Buy What They Buy?

Every first year business student would probably answer, "We buy things because we need them."

Oh really So you really NEED that Snickers bar. You NEED the fancy wheels on your car. Are you getting the message?

We buy things because they make us FEEL something. When emotion and logic come into conflict emotion always wins.

I need the Snickers bar to give me energy. I need the fancy wheels to increase the value of my car.

We make emotional decisions and then create logical arguments to support them. As much as we would like to think we make logical well-informed decisions - we don't.

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How Does All This Tie Into Increased Sales?

When customers buy things they are often looking for the solution to a problem.

The old "find a need and fill it" thinking. Positioning a "solution" to your customer allows you to solve the customer's problem and eliminate your competitors at the same time.

You can do this by not only presenting the product solution but a "package solution" that only you can supply.

It might be a combination of products and services that your competitors can't deliver in quite the same way.

They might be able to do something similar but not exactly the same way that you can.

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Solution Positioning Has Two Very Powerful Advantages

When you solve a problem in a way that others can't you can charge more for that solution.

If you can offer the customer a way out of their painful emotional problem they are more than willing to pay a premium for the remedy.

When we go to the doctor and we are referred to a specialist is there a perception that we are going to have to pay a little more for that service?

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Advantage Two

The second advantage of solution positioning is that it makes price shopping harder for the customer to do.

It focuses the customer on finding the solution to the problem rather than dwelling on its price.

Solution positioning decreases the number of resources the customer can call on to solve the problem.

The real value to the customer is solving the problem in the customers mind.

If you can do that then there is no reason for the customer not to buy from you.

If you can solve my problem with your solution package and it eliminates my emotional discomfort in most cases I would pay more for that package.

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Keep Pricing Fair

Please don't misunderstand the message of the above paragraphs.

I'm not suggesting that you take advantage of people or engage in price gouging or unethical pricing practices.

I am suggesting that you create package solutions at fair prices that deliver value and service to your customers that will keep them coming back to your business.

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The Last Word On Solution Positioning

Think about the last time you bought something.

What solution did the product or service provide? Would you have paid more for the same result?

Take a good look at your products and services. List the benefits of each product or service first.

Then come back and list what customer problems you solve.

Which are your most profitable solutions? That's all customers are really looking for.

Provide the solution to their problem and your business will always be strong.

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