Solving vs. Selling

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Here’s the thing about selling. Nobody wants to be sold to. What people do want are solutions. Need a new car? The problem is that you’ve outgrown your old one or worse yet, it’s just gotten too expensive to maintain. Did the world change when you weren’t looking? You might need help navigating that change, but you don’t need to buy a bunch of stuff from a menu—you do need people, skills, talents, tools and the right relationships to help. But help really means “help me solve this”—and that means doing it together. So when you’re “selling” what you’re really doing is showing how well you can work together to solve the problem.

Photo Credit: Garrison Smith

Upon recently making a considerable fitness equipment decision, I relied on both the salesperson and my own network to help me make my decision. The salesperson got the commission but all of them combined helped my solve my problem. And it was a good decision—problem solved (at least the immediate one). Now I’ve got the right tool, but I’ll need to use it.

We all buy things, services, etc. for different reasons—but the common denominator in all transactions is the belief that after it’s done, things will be better. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. In either case, if you feel like you’re selling more than you’re solving—you’re probably doing it wrong.

Image 1: Seattle Municipal Archives

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