Solving vs. Selling

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.

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The Truffle Strategy: Tempt Your Customers

Could eating a chocolate treat make you want to buy a TV or a cruise? The surprising answer is YES!

At a mall I used to frequent, there was a candy kiosk that always offered a sample chocolate to each passerby. I wondered about the economics of that practice – it seemed that almost everyone grabbed the treat and kept on walking – but I assumed that it must be profitable.

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Customers Are Talking: Here Comes “Broadcast Shopping”

This week Doc Searls posted on an idea called “Personal RFP.” In this model, people wishing to buy a product would be able to put together an open “request for proposal” – essentially, a specification for what they want to buy, including budget, and solicit bids from suppliers wanting to sell it to them. [Nothing even approximately like this exists today, except perhaps Priceline, the reverse-auction travel broker, which is full of compromises to the Personal RFP model.]

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Ten Bucks

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Are You on the 'Buy' Side or 'Sell' Side of Innovation?

by: Dominic Basulto

The recent economic turmoil has started me thinking about being on the "buy" side and the "sell" side of innovation. Almost any industry has a "buy" side and a "sell" side -- but the term is really a staple of the financial services industry. Get two investment professionals into a room, and they'll inevitably start discussing whether they're on the "buy" side or the "sell" side.

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Is 'Renting the New Buying'?

by: John Caddell

Hobby Princess blogs very infrequently these days (I'm guessing that a new baby in the house has something to do with that). Nonetheless, when she posts, it's essential reading. Her most recent post, "Renting Is The New Buying," theorizes how the recession might alter our consumption habits.

She writes:

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Letting the Customer By

by: Jonathan Salem Baskin

I wonder sometimes whether we should think a little less about selling to people, and a little more about allowing them to buy from us.

It's not such a subtle distinction.

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