Diagnose Little Problems and Uncover Big Needs

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved.” Charles F. Kettering

With a few variations, 80 percent of the objections sales people hear are:

“It’s too expensive.” (I can’t afford it.)

“It’s not in the budget.”

“I don’t need it.”

These objections point to a problem with a single cause: the customer has little appreciation for the value of your offering.

Essentially, the customer is saying the problem your product solves is not serious enough for the price tag. In the buyer’s mind, the cost of buying is greater than the value that would be gained by ownership.

Value-type objections like this are bad for the sales process because they indicate the customer just isn’t interested. The best sales strategy here is not to “handle” these objections, but to prevent them. Help your customer realize that the “little problems” are really BIG problems. This goes a long way toward preempting value objections altogether.

In the sales cycle, the customer moves from Change, to Discontent. Change triggers Discontent. During the Discontent phase, the customer:

1. Recognizes a problem (or opportunity.)

2. Asks “just how serious is this problem?”

3. Asks “how much will the solution cost?”

4. Finally determines “I need to buy!”

In your role as Doctor during the Discontent stage, your challenge is to uncover more than problems. Many sales people made the mistake of trying to uncover only problems. Problems are rooted in events which have already happened.

Opportunities look to the future. It is so much more effective to look at both problems and opportunities. Doing so enhances the value of your offering and helps preempt value objections, as mentioned before.

When dealing with problems, customers often don’t recognize how serious the problem is. It is the consulting sales person who helps them realize the full ramifications of “small” problems.

Remember, studying the Key Success factors in your customer’s organization and how they are carried Function-to-Function. This area is ripe for studying the “full ramification” of “small problems.”

Kevin Davis

Kevin F. Davis is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness”, which was named the 2018 Axiom Business Book Award Winner, Silver Medal. Kevin is also the author of Slow Down, Sell Faster!”.