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  • Writer's pictureBruce & Gail Montgomery

Stop SELLING and start SOLVING!

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Danny DeVito from the movie Matilda

Take a few seconds and give a good look to the used car salesman picture above. Typical, right? We often see them as greasy, fast-talking, dishonest and selfish people. “You don’t need THAT car, you need THIS car.” “This offer will only last until the end of the day, so you better buy now.” “You won’t find a better deal anywhere else.” Let's be honest - we know a lot of salespeople that sell other things than cars that are just like that.

Why is there this feeling that people in sales are “smarmy” or considered inauthentic?

Why do some assume they only want to sell you something you don’t need, just so they get paid? We believe this perception exists for the following reason:

  • They are too busy SELLING instead of SOLVING.

We at ExperienceYes believe it's critical to encourage sales professionals to concentrate on their relationship with customers, and it starts with listening. This concept is nothing new - our take is that you add one more piece to it: listening with the intent to SERVE THEIR NEEDS.

  • How do you know what solutions a customer might need if you haven't first identified their problem?

Those we admire most, are the people in sales who are passionate about SOLVING problems. They listen to serve, and they are authentic and selfless. They are emotionally intelligent. They are driven toward distilling the needs of their clients and becoming a trusted partner. They genuinely care.

Changing the “selling” mindset to one of “solving” opens many doors and possibilities.

When you are in the business of solving your clients problems, needs and challenges, the relationship shifts. Buyers begin to see their reps in a new light. The “dread” some customers feel when they receive sales calls, transforms entirely as they know you aren’t calling just to sell or win more business.

Here are some key questions to ask and things to keep in mind when you are solving instead of selling:

  • What is their business? Learn about what they do and why they matter. Understanding your consumers and their business concerns sets you apart from the rest of your competitors.

  • What are their challenges? Ask questions and LISTEN to what they share. What do you believe their needs to be? What would help them? Listen more than you speak.

  • Reflect back to them what you heard. Use that time to ensure you've got it right.

  • Is the product or service you provide truly a solution for them? Think honestly about what they need. Avoid forcing anything on them.

  • Work on your emotional intelligence. Be empathetic. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to understand their pain points. Work on being what they need, not what you need.

  • Ask them what success would look like and strategize solutions with them to support them to that end.

  • When you “solve” something for your customer, keep in touch. Stay connected. Not as a means of attaining more business, but of enriching the relationship. Which, not surprisingly, can lead to more business.

Remember how we described the greasy car salesman at the beginning of this post? Well, we know a few people who sell cars. And they’re damn good at it. They listen to serve their clients.

We know you know someone who is in sales and exceedingly successful. Our guess is that they SOLVE business challenges, not SELL things. If you shift your mindset from selling to solving, you will see quality growth in sales, customer success and retention.

Don’t sell it. SOLVE it.



Bruce T. Montgomery

President, ExperienceYes

Gail Montgomery

ExperienceYes focuses on corporate innovation, culture and leadership development by leveraging the neuroscience behind improvisation and creativity.

Soft Skills. Hard Results.

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