Market The Problem First

Ever wonder why most new products fail? Because they focus too much on the product and ignore the problem its supposed to solve.

Here’s a story we used in a sales training class

An energetic sales person approaches me and reached out with an open right hand. In his palm are two small white pills. “See these two aspirin,” he says, “they will take care of a HEADACHE in just a few minutes. Believe me, you’ll not find anything as effective as these on the market today, and the cost is very comparable to anything you’ll find at the local CVS or Walgreen’s.”

“Interesting,” I replied. “I have just one question . . . , what’s a HEADACHE?”

The sales person looked at me with the most dumbfounded expression.

The moral of this lesson was to illustrate to our students that knowing all the features and benefits of their products was not as important as understanding the problem is more important than the solution. The more we know about the problem, the more receptive we may be to looking at a new solution.

Here’s take two on the above meeting.

A sales person approaches me, introduces himself, and asks how my days going. We strike up a short conversation and after a few minutes he reaches up to his forehead and squinches. “Wow,” he says, “It was like a small lightning bolt going right through the inside of my head. Do you ever get those Mick?”
“Yes I do, “ I replied.

“Some of these HEADACHES can be pretty annoying and won’t go away,” he noted. “Do you get them often?
While he was talking he had reached into his pocket and taken two white pills from a small container. “I came across this brand of aspirin a few months ago. I’m amazed at just effective they are.” He added.

“Who makes them? I responded, “Where can I find them?”

I had just opened the door to learning more about the solution he was selling.

1. Find out what your customer’s problems (i.e. headaches) are.
2. Does any one else have the same or similar problems?
3. What can you bring to the table to help resolve them?
Focus on their needs not yours.