3 Proven Tips To Help Sales Reps Master Solution Selling

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If you are in the office equipment channel the days of just selling hardware and leases are no longer enough. We need to provide more sophisticated solutions than we ever did in the past. If you are new to sales or even a seasoned veteran the very idea of “Solution Selling” might inspire fear, panic and distaste. However the reality of living in the 21st century means that we have to not only face solution selling but we must master it.  Customers are demanding that we do more than just sell them a printer or copier, they want us to help them improve their workflow and business processes. I That’s why companies have  invested in document management, managed services and managed print.

The good news is that there are some time tested lessons I’ve picked up along the way that I’m going to share with you.  I’m going to share my top 3 tips to help you master solution sales:

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Listen to your customers:  You should have some great relationships with a good number of your customers.  Take some time to talk to them even when you’re not trying to sell them something.  Ask them questions about their business today, and where they want to see it tomorrow.  Dig deep, find out what other initiatives they have in the pipe that have nothing to do with what you offer.  They might say that they they are investing in a new CRM or that they are implementing new tools for cybersecurity.  You may not provide these things, but you provide things that compliment them.  Make a list of their top initiatives and take those back to the office.  Don’t try to sell them anything yet, just get a solid understanding of:

  • What keeps them up?
  • Where they are looking to grow?
  • What kinds of workflow issues do they have?
  • Anything new you'll be offering to the market next year?
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Think outside the box: Now that you have your list, do some homework.  What things do you have that could complement their objectives? What things do you have that can help fix their pain points?  What unique way can you put these things together that could provide a novel fix for what ails them as well as help to nudge them forward in their plans?  Let’s use cyber-security as an example.  You may not offer this but you do offer things that can improve security!  The key word is security.  How does your hardware portfolio address security? What software tools are you using that can add additional security layers that they haven’t thought of? Help your customer to think beyond what they have asked for.

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Practice:  Once you’ve compiled a list of things that you feel are complementary and could help them solve problems better than even they might not have considered you need to do some dry runs.  Work with your manager, colleagues and others at your own office to practice your talk track.  You’ll need to take some constructive criticism to ensure that you’re not just falling into box-mode.  The solutions you come up with may not entail new equipment, they may not include paper or toner.  The answer could be software, it could be best practices, it could be a host of things you don’t usually sell.  Let the solution make itself apparent, don’t force it into something you want it to be.  By practicing your delivery, by seeking criticism and assistance you’ll come up with something far more valuable for your customer, something they will be more inclined to buy.

Practice these 3 things and you can dramatically improve your customer relationships and sell more things. 3   By listening, by thinking outside the box, you will get better and better at solving customer issues.  The extra effort will pay off for your customer AND you.

We’d like to hear from you!  What tips and tricks have you learned along the way that have helped transform your selling process? How did you turn solution selling into an asset for you and your clients? 
 

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