Innovation Hack 12: Help your customers uncover unknown problems
WHY is it important?
Helping your customers discover problems they didn’t know they had will allow you to offer solutions you didn’t know they needed. Win-win.
WHEN can it be used?
If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions. - Albert Einstein (or not)
I recommend staying curious about the customer’s problems for much longer during the problem discovery phase, much longer. The long discovery phase may temporarily kill the close. In the end, it will allow you to offer more solutions that perfectly fit them.
HOW to apply the technique at work?
“The only sustainable competitive advantage is to KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS better than your competition” - Forrester Research
The best way to apply this hack is to ask more questions without offering any solution. Research shows best salespeople ask over 10 relevant questions per hour while average performers only ask about 6.
Whenever I talk to customers, I always ask them questions that seem obvious, sometimes even redundant. I also ask them to tell me how to make the relationship with them delightful, how to reach a 10 on a scale from 1 to 10.
I remember one customer answering that they have a one-point-five-billion-dollar-project (!) we aren’t part of, but we should be.
“We need help in this project, but you’re not here to help us because you’re busy positioning products. Why don’t you simply ask if we have a problem?”