We are in the business of helping our buyers fix their problems. We do this by providing great solutions. A great solution is the currency of the realm in business development and an astute seller can artfully describe the richness of their capabilities in this domain. It would seem that those who can solve problems best should win all of the deals, but this is not always the case. How come?
The answer lies in the fact there are two sides to the buying equation, one of which is virtually ignored by most salespeople.
The traditional side of the buying equation is of course the desire of the buyer to fix their problems and relieve the ‘Pains’ those problems represent. The other side is the equally powerful desire to bridge the gap between their current overall situation and the improved overall situation they desire. This is the Gain side of the buying equation, and it is neglected by most salespeople. [How do I know this to be true? When I ask salespeople how they address the Gain side of the buying equation I most often get a blank stare in reply].
Helping a buyer achieve the improved overall situation they desire is an effective way to tip the decision making scales in your favour.
Your competitor is likely not engaging the buyer in ‘Gain’ conversations. They are not having enlightening and revelatory discourse with them in which the buyer is encouraged to talk at length about the improved overall situation they want to create. The buyer is not painting a vivid picture for them of improved state of their business they desire, above and beyond solving their current problems. Thus, the competition does not get the chance to clearly demonstrate their capability to both relieve the buyer’s Pains and make their desired Gains a reality too. Pity the competition.
So how, you ask, does one facilitate a conversation with a buyer about their desired Gains? After discussing your buyer’s problems and Pains do the following….
1. Learn their desired Gains by asking, “Can you please describe the big picture of what you are trying to accomplish within your business unit / Division / Region / Company?”
2. Learn their view of the path to achieving their Gains by asking, “How will fixing your problems contribute to alleviating the Pains directly associated with them, and contribute toward making that big picture a reality?
3. Clearly demonstrate your capability to relieve their Pains and make their desired Gains a reality
This approach to selling is sound and effective and should be a part of your sales process. It is particularly powerful in big ticket sales where senior level decision makers are involved. These individuals are in the business of making an improved future for their organization a reality, and possess the wherewithal and willingness to invest heartily in making it happen.
How effectively do you facilitate the Gain conversation with your buyers? Doing so requires sound preparation, a deft conversational touch, and practice. Much effort to be sure, but well worth the investment. Hey, you’ve got everything to gain.