Sell the Problem, Not the Product


Working in sales and marketing, you can say that it’s our job to push the product/service to our potential customers with hopes of them making a purchase. If you take the job description literally, this means that you should be selling the features, advantages, and benefits of your product/service to whoever will listen. Consequently, this is exactly what many sales and marketing professionals do.

However, as we will come to realize, this is not the best way to sell. At the end of the day, your prospects are bombarded with product and service pitches countless times. At a certain point, prospects get numb to hearing about why your product/service is the best thing since sliced bread. Unless it specifically solves a problem that they are having, they won’t care.
That’s why it’s important to sell the problem, not the product.
Ask Discovery Questions
Selling the problem is more than just informing the prospect that they have a problem. To really make this work, the prospect has to admit that they have a problem that needs solving. This is where your discovery questions will come in handy. By asking pointed and strategic questions designed to reveal a hidden need, the prospect will understand that they have a need that needs to be met.
Be a Storyteller
Once the prospect admits that they have a problem or a need, it helps if you illustrate the severity of that problem by telling a 3rd party story. This is a way in which the prospect can visualize others having the same problem and having that problem solved by your product/service. Remember to paint the picture, make it relevant, and keep the story truthful.
Make the Problem and Solution Personal
Once you tell the story, the prospect should start to see a little bit of themselves in the story. You should then bring it all together by NOW explaining the features, advantages, and benefits. You should describe exactly how the product/service solves the problem and what that means for the prospect. Paint the picture that their lives will be far better off – not with your product, but with their problem solved.
Remind Them
After the sale, it’s easy for sales and marketing pros to move on to the next prospect. People tend to forget that the post-sale process is as important as the pre-sale process. Prospects can easily get caught up in the moment, purchase your product/service, then get buyer’s remorse a few days later because they forgot what their real need/problem was. It’s important to follow-up frequently and check on their problem and if it’s being solved. Remind them constantly and they will be less likely to have buyers remorse.



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Author: Jason Karaman

Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service author, blogger and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife. I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to

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