Product vs. Solution Selling: Learn it from a Plumber!


Our leadership team recently got into a conversation about product selling versus consultative selling. And it got me thinking about our clients and how many of them deal with this same issue. We’re asked and tasked to help with this. A lot. How do we do it?

It’s similar to the pictures, above. Which would your customers say you are? Are you providing a more consultative-type of service or are you just slinging product?

When your team cares about the customer, they perform better. They provide better service. They figure out the solution to the customer’s needs, faster—and most importantly, the customer feels it! They can feel the end result before you even deliver it. That’s intention. That’s care. That’s providing a valuable service.

Plumbers are possibly the best solution sales people out there. They help you, and they fix it. And you love ‘em for it. I don’t need to know all the parts and tools required to get my toilet unclogged, I just need to know it’s going to be fixed before everyone comes to my house for the holidays! (We’ve all been there.) Bottom line, it’s the end result that’s important to the customer. The more we know about what they want, what will improve their personal experience, the more we can show we care and make the solution fit them. The same rules apply to ad sales, financial management, SaaS and biotech.

It’s the start of a new year and sales kickoffs are approaching. Too often, these meetings are spent talking about the product and what’s new. What message does this send to the team? Of course you want them to sell your product(s), but instead, encourage them to care. Challenge them to be listener-focused and understand the customer better. What are their wants? Their needs? What do they already know about your product and how do they feel about it? Then, design your message with those things in mind.

You don’t have to be a plumber (or a tailor) to have a more consultative-selling strategy. You just have to care. The answers to the questions above will help make your message more relevant, and they’ll love you for it.

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