Watching The Gruen Transfer a couple of weeks ago, one of the panelists quoted one of the oldest adages in marketing, ‘Sell the problem” as if it was a revelation. Fact is, addressing the problem is often forgotten as marketers become so entranced by the features of their products they forget to define the reason somebody would buy it.

People do not buy solutions to problems until they see the solution as costing less than managing the ongoing costs and inconvenience the problem generates, it therefore follows that the best way to sell is to  develop the understanding of the relative size of the problem to which you have the solution.

This is the basis of “SPIN” selling, (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need pay-off) which is still the best sales book ever written, outlining a selling process that focuses on  what a sale delivers to the buyer, and the best way to get there.