I did write a book with the same title a few years ago, but that was on Sales. This time round, it seems I might might need to write another book on the subject but focus it on the domain of selling solutions and delivering value to our clients.
Go Beyond The Solution
It’s time to go way beyond the solution. Seriously. I am talking about IT Solutions; everyone has got a solution it seems these days. Our customers are getting bombarded with direct mail, marketing automation and other overt and covert biz dev activity from sellers like you and me; but what they need is an expert to come in, partner with them, roll their sleeves up and solve a problem with and for them. This is true partnership. This is what they want.
At a fundamental level; whatever you are selling, needs to work for them!
The solution they want is the solution that is right for them. Let that sink in. They might not need the best solution out there, but instead; they absolutely need the solution that works best for them, today. Grow with them and so will your own business and profits.
Solution providers may or may not be aware of this distinction. We have to help your clients solve problems in ways that keep them safe and as far away from risk as possible. This is key. So I ask you, are you solving problems for them or are you selling your solutions without regard for how they might be leveraging your solution to solve a problem they have.
Case In Point
I was at a large multi-billion dollar beverage company a couple months ago, talking about solutions that would help them reduce time, complexity and costs associated with their application development process. Helping them take software update releases down from a monthly cycle to a daily cycle, which is a significant improvement and no easy task. This has not yet been achieved but we are helping them get there.
The key point here is that – Selling them a solution was not enough. We know our solution could get them there, but how it was implemented in “Their” environment and help them through the change management issues, was the real challenge. The software solution we were selling them was not enough. What they were really buying, were the benefits of the tool set and the new processes that would get them to daily releases. We were the experts and then needed our expertise to get there, not just the solution.
This is where the partnership comes in. We had to go way past the solution sale and got ourselves embedded in their development teams. We started working with them on a daily basis – helping them make customizations and process changes to help them leverage our new solution platform. They had to do things differently and we helped them through this process; one step at a time. Sometimes things did not go easy, there were bumps in the road, but we were in it together.
Overall, this has been a good deal for all involved; including the other partners that our client was working with on the same project. We collaborated with them and started improving their release management processes. This level of involvement ensures future growth within the organization. We have been asked to help other departments and have even been invited to present at an internal Summit which will give us a chance to showcase what we are doing with this one group.
Remember: It’s about solving your client’s problems … not selling your solutions. Go the distance and become a true partner they can depend on.