Solution Selling | Michael T. Bosworth

Summary of: Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets
By: Michael T. Bosworth


Are you tired of struggling to close sales in the face of expert buyers, skeptical customers, and cutthroat competition? Welcome to the world of Solution Selling, as presented in Michael T. Bosworth’s book, ‘Solution Selling: Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets.’ This book summary will walk you through the intricacies of ‘Solution Selling’ – a sales approach that focuses on addressing the buyer’s needs, guiding them through their pain points, and creating a shared vision for a solution. You will also learn about the importance of understanding the three levels of buyer needs, navigating the buying cycle, the 10 faces of pain and their corresponding solutions, and the essential tools and techniques for successful selling.

Advanced Sales Methods

Today’s expert buyers have made selling more challenging than ever. To succeed, the seller must use advanced sales methods that make the “way you sell” the pivot point of closing sales. The best sellers intuitively know how to help buyers develop “action visions” – mental images in which the buyers imagine using and benefiting from a product or service in a specific context.

The key to successful selling is understanding the “three levels of buyer needs,” from latent pain to visionary solutions. Salespeople must “re-engineer” this vision, making buyers see that their product can solve their pain points. Since most buyers have negative impressions of salespeople, selling in less stereotypical ways is one of the best tactics.

During the buying cycle, trust is the foundation of a successful transaction. The seller must help buyers delineate what they need and prove that their product is the ideal solution, leading buyers from examining their options to taking action. The salesperson must align with the buyer’s mindset and concerns, answering questions and erasing doubts. The best salespeople intuitively know how to create relationships with clients instead of forcing them to buy.

Understanding the 10 Faces of Pain in Sales

Selling is not always easy, and there are ten primary reasons why it can be difficult. These reasons are what the author refers to as the 10 Faces of Pain. These faces include things like latent pain, price negotiation, and cold calling. To overcome the challenges associated with these faces of pain, salespeople need to use certain tactics such as gaining access to someone with buying power, standing out among competitors, and knowing when to walk away from a deal. The author provides ten steps to alleviate these pains, which fall under the Solution Selling method. By understanding the 10 faces of pain and the associated solutions, salespeople can overcome these challenges and achieve success.

Moving Buyers to Vision

Successful salespeople move buyers from pain to vision. To achieve this, they spend time diagnosing the buyer’s needs, rather than jumping to offer immediate solutions. They ask intelligent questions to understand the buyer’s needs and create a shared vision. This approach increases credibility and creates demand for solutions. On the other hand, unsuccessful salespeople respond to any hint of need from the buyer with an instant solution, leading to no sale. Therefore, spend time diagnosing the buyer’s need to establish credibility and create demand for a shared vision.

Engage Buyers with their Vision

Salespeople are often too focused on their product and risk turning off potential buyers. To avoid this, engage the buyer in conversation, help them bring their vision to the forefront, and then use the product’s benefits to match that vision. This approach is more effective because it shows the buyer that the product is exactly what they need.

Discover Pain and Sell Solutions

Learn how to use reference stories and the nine-block vision processing model to help buyers uncover their pain points and create workable solutions.

The secret to successful selling lies in helping buyers acknowledge their pain and offering workable solutions. This can be achieved by using reference stories and the nine-block vision processing model.

Reference stories demonstrate how your product or service helped someone in a similar situation solve a related business problem, providing the buyer with hope. Once the buyer acknowledges their pain, the nine-block vision processing model comes into play.

This model involves asking a series of nine structured questions divided into three sets: Reasons, Impact, and Vision. The Reasons set starts with open-ended questions to elicit a detailed response, followed by control questions to delineate the diagnostic response, then confirming questions to verify information. The Impact set explores the effects of the problem on the company, CEO’s planning, and the marketing department. The Vision set provides a solution, with open-ended questions, control questions, and confirming questions again.

By probing instead of pitching, buyers are more likely to share your vision of a solution, which is an important step towards successful selling. The nine-block vision processing model helps you do this by asking the right questions and eliciting the right information.

Mastering Solution Selling

Solution selling involves three essential tools: the reference story, pain sheet, and telephone script. The reference story should provide a situation, critical issue, business reasons, a vision, and a specific result. The pain sheet should contain all the data gathered during a nine-question process. Finally, the telephone script should be built around a buyer’s problem you can solve and secure an appointment within 20 seconds. These tools are crucial for enhancing solution-selling skills and making the process more effective.

The Importance of Buyer Alignment

The key to successful sales lies in understanding your buyer’s mindset and concerns. This means aligning your sales pitch with the buyer’s needs, solutions, and cost and risk considerations. If you focus on the wrong aspect at the wrong time, you risk losing the sale. Failure to align with the buyer’s concerns can lead to a death spiral, where misinterpreting their concerns about risk can result in a lost sale. Thus, it’s essential to carefully consider where the buyer is in their buying cycle and tailor your approach accordingly.

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