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Cannot Close that Sale? Check-out Problem-centric Selling!

Nowadays, sales reps who get to close the sale are those sales reps who get to discover the customer’s real problems. With life getting more hectic and people always on the rush, customers only prefer to spend more on the phone with sales teams who “gets it.” These are the sales reps who do not only get to discover the customer’s real problem but also get to help them problem-solve in new ways.

Yet, a great number of salespersons miss closing the sale and reaching their quotas. In fact, in 2018, Salesforce found that more than 57% of sales representatives are expected to miss quotas for the year. This can be a challenge more so with organizations developing resolutions that revolve around increasing sales metrics and implementing new technologies.

The traditional method of selling is not enough anymore today. The first thing a client needs or wants does not necessarily solve the core problem. A new method is now necessary that will require salespeople to first diagnose the real problem before coming up with the solution. This comes with a new Customer-centric Design.

The Future of Sales: The Upcoming Trends Salespeople Must Watch Out For

A survey was conducted on more than 2,900 sales professionals worldwide. As a result of the survey, 5 Top Trends were revealed that are shaping up the world of sales. Two of these Top 5 Trends are changing sales mandate and the emergence of a Data-driven Sales Playbook.

  • Trend 1: As sales mandate change, teams are falling short of rising customer expectations. Technology is changing expectations on how companies should interact with consumers. It is now the salespeople who are on the frontline who are carrying the onus to deliver when customers demand more personalized consultative engagement. As a result, customer satisfaction has become the most-tracked sales Key Performance Indicator.
  • Trend 2: A Data-driven Sales Playbook is emerging. The ingenuity of salespeople with data-driven insights have been amplified. With the richness of data available, this has led to more effective methods of lead prioritization and forecasting.  There is now an increasing need for sales reps to prioritize leads based on data analysis rather than on intuition.

The effect of these Top 5 Trends has further been amplified with the increasing number of missed sales. Today, the traditional method of selling just does not work anymore.

A New Approach  to Selling: A Problem-centric Selling

The traditional method of selling is focused on determining the prospects’ needs. This does not work anymore as the first thing a client needs or wants does not necessarily solve their core problems. There is now the need to shift to Problem-centric Selling.

Problem-centric Selling is an approach that diagnoses problems with as much specificity as possible. Often, the real problem is not well articulated by the potential buyer. With Problem-centric Selling, the specific customer needs are well identified thus enabling salespeople to better offer the right product or service.  It is thus important to integrating the philosophy of Problem-centric Selling into your Sales Management approach.

The Problem-centric Selling is anchored on 5 core elements.

Problem diagnosis starts with knowing and understanding your customer and their problems. This is where the first core element is centered on: Know the key facts about the customer.

Salespeople must be able to get a description of the environment of which the buyer works, the processes they use, the structure of the organization, the tools they have, the current goals of the business, and other information about the buyer and the business. The facts gathered must go beyond the basic name, size of the company, and the industry the business is in. This way, the salesperson can get to establish the context for where the customers’ problems lie.

The other 4 Core Elements are essentially important in guiding every salesperson to master the Problem-centric Approach and hit that sale with a successful deal.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Problem-centric Selling? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Problem-centric Selling here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Joseph Robinson

Joseph Robinson is the Vice President of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is the marketplace for best practices in business management. Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. The documents at Flevy (https://flevy.com) are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience. Flevy covers 200+ management topics, ranging from Digital Transformation to Growth Strategy to Lean Management. You can peruse a full list of management topics available on Flevy here. Prior to Flevy, Joseph worked as an Associate at BCG and holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn here.

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