Solution Selling

Creating Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets

Michael T. Bosworth

Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 1995, 239 pages

ISBN: 0-7863-0315-8

Keywords: Sales

Last modified: July 8, 2021, 11:06 p.m.

When products or services are hard to describe, intangible, have long sell cycles, or are expensive, chances are they're difficult to sell. In situations like this, conventional sales techniques not only don't help, they may in fact hinder success.

Solution Selling is a process to take the guesswork out of difficult-to-sell, intangible products and services. It enables sellers to make the way they sell as big an advantage as their product or service. After reading this book, salespeople and sales managers will be able to use a well-tested model that guides them through the process of selling. No more smoke and mirrors, blind luck, or high-pressure selling. Just a step-by-step system that ensures a higher rate of success for salespeople and a higher probability that the buyer's expectations will be met.

Solution Selling shows how to:

  • Differentiate yourself from your competition and dispel negative sales stereotype by changing the way you sell.
  • Generate qualified prospects and new business by learning how to gain access to power, influence committee decisions, and negotiate the sell cycle.
  • Synchronize your selling tactics with your prospect's buying cycle and lead more prospects to make a buying decision.
  • Motivate prospects to take action by helping them see themselves solving their own problems by using your product or service.
  • Seize control of the situation and make the sale yourself even when the comptetition is there first.
  • Close with confidence without using high pressure.

If you're in sales management, Solution Selling can help you to manage pipeline more effectively, control the cost of selling, and forecast sales and revenue more accurately. Discover how to cut the learning curve for new salespeople or new products, and consistently reinforce the Solution Selling sales process. Solution Selling will help you sell hard-to-sell products and services with greater success. Transform the way you sell, become aligned with your buyers — and create new buyers. Learn to diagnose your prospects' critical business issues then position your product so buyers envision themselves using it to solve their own problems. Solution Selling is about making yourself different — and taking advantage of it.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Introduction
  • Part I 10 Faces of Pain
    • Prologue: 10 Faces of Buyer Pain
    • Face #1—Latent Pain to Pain
    • Face #2—Price Negotiation
    • Face #3—Cold Call "Window of Opportunity"
    • Face #4—Organizational Interdependence and Access to Power
    • Face #5—Product or Service viewed as a "Commodity"
    • Face #6—Requests for Proposals
    • Face #7—Free Education
    • Face #8—Buyer Gets Cold Feet
    • Face #9—Booking Appointments over the Phone
    • Face #10—Buyer Has Been to Negotiating School
  • Part II Strategies to Facilitate, Influence, and Control the Buying Process
    • Strategy 1 Recognize the Three Levels of Buyer Need
      • Introduction
      • The Three Levels of Need
        • Level 1: Latent Needs or Latent Pain
        • Level 2: Pain or "Active Need"
        • Level 3: Vision of a Solution
      • Your Conceptual Sales Territorium
        • Prospecting
    • Strategy 2 Features, Advantages, and Benefits
      • Features, Advantages, and Benefits — Old Terminology, New Definitions
      • Do Not Abdicate Interest Arousal to the Product
        • More About Feature Statements
        • Advantage Statements
        • Solution Selling Benefit Statements
        • Eagles versus Journeymen
      • Self-Test (Find Out If You Really Understand)
    • Strategy 3 Participate in the Buyer's Vision
      • Develop a Latent Pain to an Active Pain
        • A Role Play: Developing a Latent Need to an Active Pain
      • Develop an Admitted Pain to a Vision of a Solution
        • The 9-Block Vision Processing Model ("the 9 boxes")
        • Questioning Etiquette
        • Reasons, Organizational Impact, Capabilities
        • A Role Play: Going Through the 9 Boxes
      • Anxiety Creation
      • Vision Reengineering
    • Strategy 4 Solution Selling Tools — Job Aides
      • The Reference Story
      • The Pain Sheet
      • The Solution Selling Telephone Script
        • Important Components to a Good Phone Script
        • Telephone Script (20 Seconds)
        • Phone Prospect High
        • Phone Scripts for Startup or Young Businesses
        • Keep Statistics
    • Strategy 5 Align with the Buyer's Shifting Concerns
      • The Buyer's Shifting Concerns
      • The Three Phases of Shifting Buyer Concerns
        • From Pain to Latent Need
        • Dramatic Changes in Buyer Behavior
        • The Death Spiral
        • Buyer Panic Is Usually Good News
        • Watch Those "Happy Ears"
        • Beware of False Price Negotiations
        • Another Buy Cycle Example: Moving Homes
        • The Buyer's Risk Is Real
        • Price Considerations
        • Buying Committees
      • Alignment of Buying and Selling Phases
        • Phase I: Qualify Needs and the Buying process
        • Phase II: Prove and Help Buyer Cost Justify
        • Phase III: Close the Sale
      • Features, Advantages, and Benefits over Time
        • Avoid Buyer Objections
        • Objections at the End of the Buy Cycle
        • Advantage Statements over Time
        • Benefit Statements over Time
        • Risk Objections
      • RFPs and Shifting Buyer Concerns
        • An RFP Answer, Finally
        • In Conclusion
    • Strategy 6 Lead the Buyer and Stay Strategically Aligned
      • The First Call of a Multiple Call Sale
        • Step 1: Establish Rapport
        • Step 2: Call Introduction
        • Step 3: Transition to Need Development/Vision Creation
        • Step 4 and 5: State Benefits and Close
        • Step 6: Qualify the Buying Process
        • Step 7: Find the Power
        • Step 8: Bargain Undefined Proof for Access to Power
      • The One-Call Close
      • A One-Call Close Example
    • Strategy 7 Advance the Buyer's Vision with Value Justification
      • Measurement plus Action Vision Equals Value Justification
      • The Buyer Discloses What Will Be Measured
      • Five Elements of Value Justification
        • Element 1: What Will Be Measured?
        • Element 2: Who Is Responsible?
        • Element 3: How Much Is Possible?
        • Element 4: What Capabilities Will Be Needed?
        • Element 5: When Will This Investment Pay for Itself?
      • A Sample Value Justification: See Appendix B
    • Strategy 8 Control the Process, Not the Buyer
      • Don't Close Before It Is Closeable
      • Process Control Letters
        • The Sponsor Letter
        • Key Components of Process Control Letters
        • The Plan Letter
      • Orchestrate the "Perfect Time" to Close
        • The Unexpected Time Is Frequently a Perfect Time
        • Proposal Avoidance
    • Strategy 9 Draw the Line in Price Negotiations
      • Do Not Confuse Price Negotiations with Cost Justification
      • Buyers Wring the Washcloth";" the Seller Is the Washcloth
      • The Buyer's Emotional Hurdle
      • The Seller's Emotional Hurdle
      • Smart Buyers
      • Lessons from Two Price Negotiations
        • Story #1: The Saga of Dave Crabtree
        • Story #2: Three Plumbers Wring the Washcloth
        • Postscript
        • Lesson 1: Protect Your Price
        • Lesson 2: Don't Give Without Getting
        • Lesson 3: The Seller Has to Draw the Line, First
      • Negotiating Involves Planning
    • Strategy 10 Implement the Solution Selling Process
      • Sales Forecast — The "Sunshine Pump"
      • The Farmer Is Your Model
      • Edit Letters
      • Grade Your Pipeline
      • Sales Management Tools
        • First Call Debriefing Log
        • The Prospect Qualification Worksheet
        • Call Log
        • Sample Call Log, Some Analysis
        • Balancing Activity with Quality Pipeline: A "Farming" Algorithm
        • Monthly Pipeline/Activity Reports
      • Forecasting
      • Automating Solution Selling
  • Part III Solution Selling in Action
    • Solution Selling Reference Stories
      • Reference Stories
      • DEMAX Software
      • AT&T Global Business Communications Systems
      • National Computer Systems
      • Lawson Software
      • TRW Business Credit Services
      • Shared Systems Corporation
      • Information Mapping, Inc.
      • Zymark Corporation
      • Keane, Inc.
      • Great Western Bank Retail Banking Group
      • Wheat, First Securities, Inc.
      • IMRS
      • Lucas Management Systems
  • Appendix A: Getting Started with Solution Selling
  • Appendix B: Sample Value Justification Presentation
  • Resources


Solution Selling

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Disappointing *** (3 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 3:23 a.m.

This is a book that tries to teach the traditional way of selling, with a fancy title. It is extremely simplistic in outlook.

It's not bad, but I can't recommend it.


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