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Focus On The Problem

by Doug Davidoff | Oct 14, 2012 3:45:00 PM

It amazes me how much time people spend developing, understanding and explaining their solutions, while spending little to no time actually understanding the problems their customers have.  If there’s a single message that traditional salespeople need to grasp to break free form commoditization it’s "your solution is not your customer/prospect’s problem."

As author Simon Sinek shared, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  Your solution is your "what."  The problem you solve for your target market is foundation of your "why."

Whether you’re a salesperson or an executive of a growing business, the second highest leverage activity you can undertake is to deepen and define the problem you solve.  How do you do that?  Begin by following these steps:

    1. Define your target market profile.
    2. Define the role players you are trying to connect to.
    3. Identify the critical results these people are responsible or striving for.  Critical results are the select few results that dominate your prospect’s focus and drive their success; they’re not the normal everyday objectives that occupy most of our time.
    4. Critical results, virtually by definition, are not easy or automatic.  Identify and define the challenges and obstacles that you can address that your prospects/customers face, making achieving their desire challenging.

The more clearly you can define the problem, the more attractive you’ll be and the easier it will be to stand out.  A commercial printing company we work with transformed their message from a solutions focus to a problem focus, and is now moving beyond commoditization.  Here’s their “why:”


Mid-market companies don’t have access to the high quality, flexible enterprise printing capabilities that large companies have.  This is forcing them to spend more time and money to achieve their target results, and to accept less-than-ideal production constraints.

Now, instead of trying to convince people to let them bid on a project, they’re engaging in valuable conversations about controlling costs and improving critical results.

You can learn more about making sales growth predictable, scalable and enjoyable by downloading our new report Achieving Effortless Growth.