Don’t sell, solve

Why do you buy anything? You buy a bottle of water because you are thirsty, you buy an iPod to carry your music around, you buy a luxury car to trade up. The list can go on and on. The basic idea behind buying anything is to solve a problem. This sounds so simple. Then why is anyone trying to sell anything? Why do we have sales people? What we need is a bunch of problem solvers trying to find solutions for our problems.

Put it in other words, the objective of sales team should be to find how a product can solve a customer’s problem. A customer is not going to buy a new suite of software just because it’s a new year and your product version should match the year you are living in nor are they going to choose your brand over the one they are already accustomed to just because you asked them to do so. You got to have a legitimate reason and the best reason is to make customers realize that you are solving a problem that is not solved by the current status quo.

McDonald’s may have a shot against Starbucks because they are solving a customer’s pain of making two stops to get breakfast and coffee and replacing it with a single stop.  Prius might win the race against traditional cars because it reduces the monthly spend by customers on gas. Xbox got an upper hand over PlayStation because Xbox Live enables people to play together and Netflix won over Blockbuster because it removed the trouble of going to the local rental store to rent a movie.

While developing a product and marketing it, it is important for you to think about the problem you are solving. When you understand the problem and try to solve it, your job is done. Selling will be a side effect which will happen during this process.

3 responses to “Don’t sell, solve

  1. when your product is solving a non-existing problem, you definitely need an army of sales people to convince you that you do have a problem. :)

  2. I agree with most of what you said. However, there are some products, they do solve problem, and some just declare that you have arrived, they are an upgrade. Luxury products are for people who already solved there problem and now looking to have fun … diamond studded watch are not for people who just want to see time, you don’t buy 250000 car to go from point A to B ….

  3. I believe how to trade up is a big problem for many people around us and luxury products do solve that problem to some extent.