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Solution selling for a successful sales career

Employers planning to boost their sales force are looking for more than natural achievers; they’re looking for sales executives and leaders who are able to add value – not only by winning new business and successfully developing existing accounts but also by acting as a real advisor and partner to their clients.
 
As companies continue to come to terms with tough economic conditions in Ireland, employers are looking to capitalise on existing budgets and spending to grow their market share. Increased market share is often directly attributed to sales professionals who are able to ‘up-sell’ or ‘relationship sell’. There are plenty of buzz words that can be used to describe a more consultative sales approach, but essentially hiring managers are looking for those that can sell more than a simple product or service.
 

What is a solutions sales approach?

 
The most popular term for an advisory focused sales approach is solution sales. It’s a term that was originally coined in the US in the mid-70s, and has been through various iterations and revivals since, but remains the most obvious way to refer to this particular method of selling.
 
While recently, the term ‘solutions’ has somewhat lost its value through overuse, the fundamentals of the approach remain the same; to assess the customer’s requirements and provide an answer and service-offering that will address these needs. The ability to listen and interpret unique requirements is key, meaning the cliché of a pushy sales person after a quick win becomes redundant.
 

Step-by-step

 
Typical steps in a solution sales approach and process include:
 
  • Investigating, prospecting or developing leads – whether with a new or existing customer.
  • Analysing the customer’s needs and requirements.
  • Developing a solution which addresses these needs – this can consist of a product, service or combination of the two.
  • Communicating why the proposed solution will benefit the customer – often a point-to-point sell when you can demonstrate that you understand all of the business, commercial and economic drivers behind a general requirement.
  • Ensuring that you have access to the decision makers and that they are aware of the total value of the proposed solution.
  • Negotiations for mutual benefit.
  • Ongoing communication to ensure that the relationship developed is a useful and productive one.
 

Sales job seekers in demand

 
Organisations know that their clients value expertise and a genuine desire to add more to the process than a standard approach. Given the access to information in today’s environment, anyone can look up product features online and compare cost and specifications themselves. Where you can add value is with a real understanding of why a specific product or service is required and how you can turn what you’re representing into a bespoke solution to fulfil these requirements.
 
Obviously, the relationships and contacts you’ve developed are key to getting the ball rolling, but it’s the way you deliver value that will elevate you beyond the standard sales professional.
 
To learn more about how improving your sales skill set may help you land the job of your dreams, get in touch with Simon Ganter in our Dublin office.