Every business is based on selling. Whether it’s services, skills or products, the fundamental principal of enterprise is providing something a customer needs, presenting it to them as a viable option and providing it in a professional manner. So why is “selling” one of the most challenging components of business? Here are three tips to see “selling” in a different light.

Problem solving

Since the first trader set up a stall to provide wares for currency, selling has been about solving a problem – food to eat, clothes to wear, expertise to utilise. The world has thrived on it, building empires on the sale and trade of sugar, spices, cotton or coffee.

And it’s no different in this day and age. Selling is about identifying what people need and providing it to them. Modern business may be more about technology and lifestyle, but the problem solving it utilises is essentially the same.

Know your customer

In marketing we often hear about demographics, reach, and audience share, but it all comes down to a simple principle: knowing who your customer is, what they need, and telling them you can provide it.

When you know your customer, their “problem” and have the product or service to fix it, you are in the game of sales. When you know your customer, have the product to fix their problem, and let them know about it effectively, you are in the game of marketing.

And this is why listening to and communicating with the customer is imperative to selling. It’s a three-way interplay of hearing their needs, providing the service/tool to meet them, and telling them you can.

The point of difference

Probably the greatest challenge to selling is informing the customer why your product meets their needs better than any other provider could. This is also about knowing your customer and solving a problem.

So they’d like their house painted…a job most professional painters can readily turn their hand to. But why select your service over Joe the painter down the street? Because you have a point of difference, you’re better in some way, and here’s how.

The problem: Their house is outdated and in need of a spruce up.

Your solution: A nice fresh coat of paint.

The point of difference: A 5-year guarantee on all your work? 20-years experience in the industry? The quality products you use? The timely manner in which you complete the job?

Most customers looking for a product are seeking something beyond the average and knowing what that extra problem is and solving it is the point of difference you can provide.

“Selling” doesn’t have to be a dirty word. It’s what business does every day. It’s the basis of providing a service to meet people’s needs, and above all it’s solving a problem, whatever that may be.

Clive Enever – The Business Mentor has been “solving problems” with business for over 30 years. To learn more about the innovative techniques and insight he offers, see here.