Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can cover sales training and sales skills at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.


Full Video Transcript:

Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about sales skills, and before we even get into it let me say, we are all salespeople and we are in sales all the time, every hour of every day. We’re constantly communicating with other people and our ability to get our message across helps us live productive lives. It helps us get the things in our life that we would like to have.

So we are all in sales and what we’ve all heard time and time again, I’ve heard it a million times myself, is you sell features, you sell benefits, of course you sell benefits more than the features and so on. People talk about different ways of presenting your features and benefits and how it applies to the person who’s possibly making the purchase. But I suggest that there’s one thing that’s more important than all of that kind of traditional out-of-the-box sales training, and that is to focus on the problem. When you’re doing your sales presentation, you have to focus on the problem first. In fact, you could spend half of your time, even two-thirds of your time in your sales presentation talking about the problem, and there are a couple of things that this is going to do.

Number one, people don’t buy things for nothing. They’re trying to get rid of problems in their life. So what problem does your product or service alleviate? What problem does it solve? Once you know what that is, you have to identify it for the person because that’s the headspace that’s going to determine the value of your product. Once they realize they have a problem—we don’t spend our lives thinking about our problems all the time. Most of the time, we’re thinking about positive things because that’s what’s more enjoyable to do as a human being. But we all do have problems. We all do have challenges. So if you’re selling a solution to a problem, the first thing you have to do is remind the person, “Look, this is the problem we’re talking about,” and what that’s going to do, it’s going to put them in a frame of reference to realize, “Okay, that is a problem,” and that’s going to increase the value that they attribute to your solution.

Secondly, once you’ve identified the problem, you have to even make it worse. You have to make the problem worse. You have to say to those people, “Listen, if you don’t solve this, this is a problem that we have and it even gets worse than that because it has this other implication in the future if you don’t solve it, or it’s going to slow you down five years from now, or this is going to affect this entire other aspect of your business if you don’t get this solved.” You have to take the problem and actually make it worse. You have to project the problem into the future, like, “What is this problem going to mushroom into? What’s it going to turn into if you don’t solve this problem?” Again, what are you doing into that case? You’re increasing the value that they’re going to attribute to your solution. You’re selling the solution.

So number one, you have to identify the problem that you’re solving. Number two, you have to take that problem and make it worse. You have to project it into the future: “If you don’t solve this problem, if we don’t do this, this is what’s going to happen, which is even worse than what you’re experiencing today.” That’s going to get them in the right headspace; it’s also, ironically, going to make them feel understood. It’s going to make them feel understood if you truly—and I do this as a speaker. I earn 90% of my income in speaking fees, and the first thing that I want to do, the most important thing that I want to do when I’m speaking in front of an audience is I want to understand their problem, because only when I understand their problem can I provide a solution through what it is the content that I’m covering. And when I explain the problem and say, “Look, I understand that this is the situation, this is the reality that you’re facing in your industry,” when I do that, the people are like, “Okay, he gets it. He understands that I have this problem.” Even if you make it worse, like when I say—you might hear that and think that like I’m telling people to be mean or that that’s not a nice thing to do. Look, it does help the sales process, but it also helps the person you’re speaking with because it helps them understand, number one, you understand their situation, and number two, if they don’t change their situation this is what their situation’s going to turn into. So it helps people and they feel understood. It clarifies the need.

And once you’ve clarified the need, now that’s when you bring in your solution. That could be halfway through your presentation or two-thirds of your way through your presentation, or even in my case, it could be halfway through my speech almost in some cases where I can say, “Now look, here’s what you might want to consider,” and now you bring in the whole new…maybe it’s a product, maybe it’s a service, maybe it’s information that solves the problem, and now they realize, wow, they see the value in it. So when you’re explaining the problem, you’re expanding the value, and whenever the value of something is higher than the price of it, that’s when you close the sale. When they see that the price is here but the value is up here, that’s when they close. They see it, they get it, and they’re like, “Yes, I see it. I see the need. I’m buying that.” And we’ve all had this happen to us where we see something in our lives, maybe it’s business-related or even in our personal lives where we’re like, “Yeah, I see that value. I’m buying it. Done. No problem,” and we don’t even question the price because we know that the value is higher than the price we’re paying for it.

So to increase your sales effectiveness, focus on the problem. Focus on the problem, clarify the need, make the problem worse by projecting it into the future, and only then provide your product or service as the solution for their problem.

Thanks so much for watching this video. My name is Patrick, reminding you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.