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Solving or Selling: Which Will Make You More Successful?

Solving or Selling: Which Will Make Your More Successful? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitude

Solving or Selling: Which Will Make Your More Successful? - Janice Mars, SalesLatitudeIf someone asks if you are solving or selling, you may be wondering what the heck they are talking about. Your probable answer is that you do both. But do you? And should you? Let’s take a closer look to see if you are solving or selling, and why you need to know the difference.

If You Are Solving

Solving typically leads to bigger deals in a shorter timeframe since you are providing true business value by helping buyers be more successful. Your time as a sales person is spent:

  • Researching the company as a whole
  • Researching the buyers in the lines of business where your products and services can provide value
  • Understanding their critical business outcomes and success criteria, and how each line of business links to corporate goals and initiatives
  • Gaining insights on where they are now, where they want to be and by when
  • Researching each individual key stakeholder in those lines of business that you affect
  • Understanding business and market trends across the buyer’s industry
  • Meeting with key stakeholders to provoke ideas they may not have thought about or considered unattainable
  • Validating with key stakeholders that you understand their business issues, what will make them successful
  • Linking how your products and services will help them get to a specific ROI within a desired timeframe

If You Are Selling

Selling has its limits. You most likely have been successful but not as consistently year after year. Your deals may be bigger deals from time to time due to sheer luck but they take longer to close. Why? Most likely, you are selling on your timeline and not theirs.

You know the deals I’m talking about. They sit in your pipeline forever, where you have to keep moving the close date from one quarter to the next. This happens because you are selling and just hoping (and most likely praying) that something you say or demo will stick. You most likely are not spending your time on the right activities (seethe above bullets). Instead, you are probably just:

  • Hearing keywords that apply to the product or service you’re selling
  • Talking only to people who like what you say, but have no budget now (or maybe never will) and are not at a level where they can affect change
  • Doing just enough research to be dangerous – that is, just enough to say that you did it
  • Trying to find a home for whatever is in your sales bag with little understanding or empathy as to what your customers may need – now or in the future

Are You Solving or Selling?

Be aware of the difference between solving or selling, and discern which side you currently stand on and the one where you want to plant your flag. Do you solve problems for your buyers? Or do you just “sell” and hope something sticks?


Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


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