Selling to Problems, Part 2

What's in it for ME? WII-FM


This wasn’t supposed to be a series of posts (Part 1 is The Question Box for Sales Prospecting), but after a lengthy email exchange I’m going to take the concept of selling to problems a step further.

And I’m going to do it via consumer goods.

Back in the day, our company’s sales trainer was fond of talking about radio station “WII-FM”. An acronym that stood for “What’s In It For Me?”. Her point was well taken because we’re selfish beasts and left to our base instincts, we choose survival. Whenever we consume information or communicate, in general we want to know, “What’s in it for me?” We weigh the value of WII-FM against the value of our time/money/resources and make decisions.

Got it. Bought in. Hear it all the time and live it every day.

Make sure you’re thinking about problems when you go out into the world. Your customer’s problems.

Back to my consumer goods example. Back to the “how we make decisions” graphic too.

4 Step Decision Process

Making Decisions

Doctor tells me I need to get outside more. Experience nature. Start with my own backyard. Why? Because I have a problem with stress. Increasingly, my next step would be to visit Dr Google and start looking for “ways to relax at home” or something. Super broad search.

Problem to be solved

Notion of Problem

(notice the # of ads. . .since when does google not show ads? Hmm. . .not a highly trafficked search phrase)

I read up on a few of the “idea generating” articles I was looking for. Evaluating options. I like Sleep and I like Nature.

sleep backyard stress problems

Narrowing my problem

(still no ads. . .it’s high up in the problem solving grid)

I take a peek at a few of the pictures. Grandpa passed out in a lawnchair. . .hmm. How about a hammock? Neighbor Frank has one and he seems pretty relaxed. Hammock it is.

The problem is about to be solved

Solved the problem – need product

(bam. adville. The term ‘hammocks’ represents the solution part of the process)

There it is. Lots of hammocks. I pick a budget, I pick a style and then I look for the very best deal.

Easy, right?

To the point of the exchanges I was having about this topic: if you sell to Problems, you focus on the customer’s favorite station, WII-FM and very few do that. Many sales and marketing folks are trying to pick up the need once it’s been met. Competing on price and battling for scraps.

Focus on the problems. It’s a mindset that will set you apart. Swear.

Good stuff.


About the Author: Greg Chambers is Chambers Pivot Industries. Get more business development ideas from Greg on Twitter.