How To Ensure Your Solution Is a ‘Must Have’ vs. ‘Nice to Have’
Hopefully, the problem your solution solves for is very clear to you. But how do you take this conviction and ensure that the prospect sees your solution as a ‘must have’ for their business vs. just a ‘nice to have’?
You add depth to your questioning strategy beyond problem/challenge identification by getting the prospect to quantify the impact of solving challenges for them, their team, and their business. Without this deeper pain conversation, solutions remain a ‘nice to have’ in the mind of prospects – and new business sales suffer as a result.
To accomplish this, you can think about your questioning strategy in three levels:
- Current Situation
- Problem/Challenge and Ideal solution
Level 1: Current Situation
Current situation is simply how the prospect currently conducts business. What are their processes, tools, etc. Sample Current Situation questions can include:
- Describe your current process for X. What’s working? What’s not working?
- How does your team make sure they stay on top of X or don’t get overwhelmed by Y?
- What are a few main resources you currently use? What do you like about them? What do you not like?
The goal of the Current Situation level is to understand enough of the prospect’s current state to ask relevant questions at the next level.
Level 2: Problem / Challenge and Ideal Solution
During this level, it can be tempting to believe that telling the prospect what challenges you think they have based on what your clients tell you will get the job done, but that’s often not enough.
While the best practices of having client value stories ready and using as much client voice as possible are important, capturing the prospect’s nuanced challenges in their own words is critical.
Some sample Problem / Challenge questions can include:
- What challenges do you face when trying to do X today?
- Why is this an issue? Tell me more.
- How long has this been a problem?
- What have you tried to do about it? Did that work?
- What are some of the obstacles to solving this challenge?
With answers to these questions, qualification becomes possible. If they don’t have the problem that your solution solves for, disqualify and move on – your time is valuable! If your solution can solve their problem, dig further into their pain.
Now that the prospect’s challenges are understood, ask them to share what they believe an ideal solution would look like. This will provide a better understanding of what is most important to the prospect.
Sample Ideal Solution questions can include:
- How important is it to you / the company to solve this challenge?
- What would an ideal solution look like? Why is that the ideal?
- What is your ideal timeline to solve the issue? Could it get deprioritized?
Be sure to capture the ideal solution in the words of the prospect. After all, the goal is to be a partner to them on their ideal solution, not yours. Also, continue to dig even further into pain.
Level 3: Benefit / Impact
Getting the prospect to quantify the benefit and impact of solving their challenge is what will make a solution a ‘must have’ vs. a ‘nice to have’ as this is where the prospect tells you the importance and value of solving their problem.
It’s time to make it personal. Take all the relevant information gathered about the prospect’s current situation, the problems and challenges they have, and what their ideal solution looks like and begin asking them how solving these challenges and/or achieving this ideal solution would impact them, their team, and their business.
Sample Benefit / Impact questions can include:
- What impact does challenge X have on your business?
- What happens if XYZ doesn’t happen?
- What would it mean for you, your team, and your business to resolve this problem?
If one of your value drivers is time savings or efficiency (like it is for many of us), be sure not to settle for a simple acknowledgement from the prospect that time savings and efficiency are important. If you stop here, you will remain a ‘nice to have’ solution in their mind.
Rather, dig in and ask them additional Benefit/Impact questions like:
- What would you do, or do more of, if you had X amount of time back in your day or week?
- How important is the activity you would now do/do more of to you, your team, and your business?
- What is the value of the activity you would now do/do more of to you, your team, and your business?
By having the prospect share the importance and value of the activity they would repurpose the time savings to, they have shared the value of your solution to them vs. just acknowledge that efficiency is important.
With the prospect quantifying the benefit and impact of solving their problem, and assuming the impact is meaningful, you will rarely hear that your solution is a ‘nice to have’ because the prospect will have told you why your solution is a ‘must have’ for them. Be sure to reiterate this to them, in their own words, throughout the rest of the sales process.
Author, Alea Homison is Vice President, Sales Strategy / Enablement /Development at AlphaSense
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