Agents and advisors:
Salespeople or problem
MAR 03, 2017 | BY TOM FREESE
Insurance and finance sales teams tend to invest a tremendous amount of thought
and energy in trying to figure out how best to position their solutions within their
That makes sense. After all, the more solutions that agents and advisors can provide,
the more money you and your company stand to make, right?
What if it’s actually the other way around?
Providing valuable solutions is certainly a noble goal for individual salespeople, and for
the entire sales organization. But step back and think about it: Customers in any valueoriented
sale are much more focused on solving their problems than acquiring your
How do we know this to be true?
Think about the last time you made a major purchase like a car, computer, cell phone or
even a home. As you were in the final stages of your buyer’s journey, what was more
important to you? Getting ‘pitched’ by an eager sales representative, or addressing your
wants and needs as efficiently and effectively as possible?
Not surprisingly, the answer to this question is the same for every business, in every
industry, and in every culture. Customers are much more interested in addressing their
needs than being “sold” on your solutions.
This is where a seemingly small difference in semantics translates into a significant
increase in sales effectiveness and productivity. As it turns out, solving a customer’s
problem — and providing a solution — are basically the same thing. You can’t solve a
problem without providing a solution, nor can you provide a solution without solving a
Still, there is a huge difference between being a “problem solver” and a “solution
provider.” The difference is perception. Customers these days are much more focused
on addressing their goals, objectives, wants, needs and desires, than they are willing to
be on the receiving end of a sales pitch. So adopting a ‘problem solver’ mindset can
give sellers a significant advantage over the traditional ‘solution provider’ mentality in
today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.
While everyone knows that success in selling is about building mutually beneficial
business relationships, sellers who focus on solving their customers’ problems can
expect to sell substantially more solutions. That’s because the mutual bonds being
formed with potential buyers are the result of focusing on the problems they are trying to
solve, rather than fixating on whatever solutions you might want to sell.