Here’s a customer problem you don’t have to solve
  • sales
  • Blog post

Here’s a customer problem you don’t have to solve

Salespeople are natural problem solvers. The customer missed a deadline and needs your help to make up for lost time? You’re on it. The customer is having trouble meeting production goals? You can fix it. The buyer needs more information, or a better spreadsheet, or someone to pick up their dry-cleaning before the place closes? You’ll get it done.

There is one problem, however, that you shouldn’t be too quick to solve: a problem with your price. If you allow your buyer to define your price as the problem, the only way to solve it is with a lower price.

You don’t have to solve this “problem,” however – because your price isn’t the problem. The problem is your buyer’s willingness and/or ability to pay that price. If you can redefine the problem this way, you can solve the problem and still get your price.

For example, if the issue is willingness to pay, you have a value problem. You and your buyer haven’t yet established that the value will outweigh the cost. That, in turn, could be a communication problem (the value is there but the buyer doesn’t see it) or a value-creation problem (you haven’t yet figured out how to deliver enough value).

Assuming good faith on the buyer’s part, these are problems you can work on together.

If the issue is ability to pay, you have a finance problem. The buyer sees the value, but hasn’t figured out how to pay for it. That, too, is something you and your buyer can work on together.

In short, a “price” problem puts you and your buyer at odds. Either you give in, the buyer gives in, or the sale doesn’t happen. But if you redefine the price problem in terms of willingness or ability, it gets you and your buyer pulling in the same direction. And that’s when your problem-solving skills can help you arrive at a solution that benefits both you and the seller.

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