One of the toughest lessons and most valuable lessons I learned early in my sales career was that my job was not to have the answers. I didn’t need to be able to solve the problems my prospects or customers had. My job was to get the prospect to connect to the problem, and to demonstrate that I understood what my prospect wanted to achieve.
I had a whole team of people that whose job is was to solve the problem. My primary objective was to a) get the customer to understand they had an important problem, then b) to connect the prospect with the solutions experts in my company, and c) to manage the process.
Last week I was presenting to a group of CEOs in Syracuse, NY. One of the CEOs was commented on the challenge of adopting The Five Unbreakable Rules for Creating Demand. He commented, “It’s tough understanding your customer like your describing. We’ve spent our entire careers becoming experts in what we do.”
My response to the CEO was that solutions expertise isn’t unique; to your customers and prospects it’s a commodity. While I’m not saying that a company should not have solutions experts, this type of expertise does little to create value in the sales process or separate you from competition.
Really, it’s the fundamental reason that companies create sales team. To have people whose job it is to become customer experts and to provoke awareness of problems. Put the focus there, instead of having the answers, and you’ll see your sales and profits soar.