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The Only Person Who Can Call It a Solution Is the Buyer

We’ve already talked about solutions. We believe that solution is one of the most misused words in the English language, certainly within the sales profession.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a solution as “the answer to or disposition of a problem.” But isn’t it enormously presumptuous for someone with the title “salesperson” on a business card to announce to a buyer that he or she has the solution, even before the buyer has shared a single goal? Is it surprising that buyers find this offensive?

In our Customer Focused Selling workshops, we take a different approach to solutions. We believe that a salesperson can’t and shouldn’t define a solution. Only the buyer can call something a solution. The seller can help the buyer get there, but can’t get there first. When the seller—using the right process and content—leads the buyer to conclude that he or she needs the specific capabilities the seller has posed, only then do we have a solution. Because the buyer said so.


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