From Keith Eades “New Solution Selling“:

“If you take nothing else away from this book, remember this: Don’t lead with your product. Learn to keep your products and services in your pocket until you have fully diagnosed the situation. Remember the Solution Selling principle: diagnose before you prescribe. The products or services you represent may give buyers more reasons not to buy than to buy.”

It’s a fact.  People today don’t buy “stuff” because it’s cool “stuff”.  They buy business solutions.  To differentiate yourself from the competition, spend time with your customers, learn what their pain is.  Then, be their trusted advisors.

I was in a call with a salesperson recently who heard a piece of a challenge from a customer, and immediately responded with a vendor’s solution.  Further into the conversation, we learned of a bias the customer had against that vendor – we didn’t lose the relationship, but we DID lose some of the credibility.  Get the pain out on the table.  Then provide intelligent solutions.