Thursday, 19 May 2011

Solution Based Selling - Selling by whose objectives ? 6 stage model

The writings American management guru Peter Drucker (1909 -2005) are back in vogue despite some detractors of his core concept of management by objectives MBO who suggest that companies adopting MBO tend to overemphasise control rather than foster creativity.

But in these tough times of recession - control and in particular cost control has been the mission focus of many corporations. This has led to the increase of ever more professional procurement. Procurement has been under the spotlight in both private and public sectors.

One of Drucker's quotes was "If you are not part of the solution you've gotta be part of the problem". Although Drucker was primarily referring to management his slogan applies equally to professional selling and professional purchasing.

Many experienced professional salespeople in sales today find their role being one of contributing to a mutually shared answer to a recognised problem of which the answer provides a measurable improvement to satisfy procurement.

I met up this week with a good friend and colleague of mine, Simon Cooper who was running a new course " Solution Based Selling" in central London for Tack International.

Simon was discussing the sea-change in selling today due to the changes in procurement.

Simon ( see left) distinguishes between conventional selling and solution based selling.

"the key differentiation between the two"Simon believes is " that in solution selling it is the seller- who has the responsibility for understanding of the situation and then to build a value solution alongside and with the Buyer."

Simon quoted the late editor of Harvard Business Review Theodore Levitt (1925 2006)

"It is not so much about what you are selling it is much more about how what you are selling helps the customer."

In 1983 Levitt proposed corporate purpose was rather than merely making money , it is to create and keep a customer. ( sounds like another definition of Selling)

Essentially the selling message must be BE VALUABLE.

The TACK Solution Based Selling model focuses on six key areas.

The TACK International site is

1.The creation of rapport and the building of trust.

2.The identification of customer needs and their priorities.

3.The creation and design of solution

4.The presentation of the differentiated value proposition.

5.The negotiation of of terms and conditions

6.Implementation of a solution which is subsequently evaluated and developed

One of the key sessions of the programme is a detailed review of the Procurement process.

From the Buying cycle delegates focus on nine key stages - a. Need Identification b. Information Gathering c. Supplier contact d. Background review e. Negotiation. f. Purchase g. Fulfilment h. Consumptive maintenance and disposal i. Renewal.

Today's solution seller has to have an appreciation of the demands and stresses of today's professional procurement specialists.

The programme investigates how procurement dpeatrments are measured and what from a corporate standpoint is Purchasing excellence- what are their KPPI Key Performance Purchasing Indicators.

As well reviewing traditional six step sourcing models the course considers purchasing strategy and and total cost of ownership, risk assessment, sourcing techniques, the prevalence of e sourcing tools, inter site synergy and compliance and ethics and corporate social responsibility.

The course examines how procurement is measured and evaluated in order that delegates get a deeper understanding of what professional procurement is about and how to work in partnership with procurement.

This is a great programme for sales professionals who know how to sell but need to step into the premier league of elite solution sellers.

This Solution Based Selling course culminates in a comprehensive checklist of 63 issues that if actioned will take you and you keep you in the sales elite.

Useful Links

Solution Based Selling and  Differentiated Value Proposition

Negotiation Skills

Simon can be contacted at

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study


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