It's common wisdom that what people want is a solution. There is even a school of sales training and many books around the concept of "solution selling".
Your best customer wants something specific to happen when they use your product or service. Sometimes they want and need something else. Not everything is a "problem" for a customer; sometimes, it's a "gap" that needs to be filled. I talk to my clients about "gaps" not "problems".
In my 30 years experience, there are actually six different results a customer values. The one to stress as a benefit and to base your product or services features depends on the Platinum Customer Profile™ of your best customers.
Your Platinum customer may want:
- Something solved.
- A problem reduced.
- A way to maintain the status quo.
- A potential problem prevented.
- An issue eliminated.
- An opportunity created.
I call this Situational Outcomes™ because it puts the emphasis on the right thing: results from the customer's point of view. Your product or service should do that. Your benefits and features presented in your collateral and website should reflect that. Your pricing should reflect the value the customer gets — is it high value, low value, moderate? Your pricing should not violate laws including the Deceptive Trade Practices Act of the Business and Commerce Code and Clayton Act (Robinson-Patman Act amendment). These help you achieve best practices in pricing.
TAKE AWAY: Before you offer to "solve" something, make sure you are really giving them what they want and value. The outcome they need may be different than you imagined. Just saying you have a solution is too simplistic and second guesses your client — never a good idea.
Asking can be tough. One resource to give you ideas on good questions for all kinds of situations is Smart Questions by Dorothy Leeds (lots of examples) and Smart Questions by Gerald Nadler (process focus). I will be doing a webinar on pricing for the Business Bank of Texas on February 10 at 10am that will deal with this in more detail. I will be providing attendees with a Pricing Glossary & Concepts sheet with over 50 top terms. If you would like a copy of this, please send me an email (email@example.com).
Another book I recommend is by Thomas Nagle, the Strategy & Tactics of Pricing. It has inspired me for many years in its earlier version by Nagle and Reed Holden.
What does your best customer want? Does your experience match mine that they are looking for more than just a solution? I would be interested in your opinions. Do you have books that inspire and help you formulate questions or give you pricing ideas?