My latest blog talked about how manufacturing companies are gradually transforming into service businesses. Let’s continue around this topic by concentrating on sales.
Transformation from a manufacturer to a service provider doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a change of heart throughout the company, a new way of thinking. Traditionally manufacturing businesses have sold products and services have been a separate branch of economy. Sales in these traditional companies have been product oriented.
But in order to sell products as services or to create a combination of both, the sales process requires more than just technical details and knowing catalog prices by heart. Instead of selling a product as such, you need to understand the needs of a customer and their business. Traditionally this is known as solution selling which has been around since the 1980s.
In solution selling, the sales process is problem based instead of product based and the salesperson tries to provide a solution. This is usually a better sales strategy than just providing technical details and list prices. Depending on the customer needs of course. But selling solutions is not enough as so many are doing it, at least on their marketing materials.
Creating ad hoc solutions for certain issues the customer has is usually not productive, at least in the long run. Usually we know the problems we have, but we are not sure how to fix them. Knowing the business of the customer on the other hand creates fruitful possibilities for co-operation. Instead of asking “What keeps you up at night?” you should ask “How do you make money?” from your customer, figuratively speaking.
Understanding the logic behind the business (or anything else, for that matter) allows you to create solutions that truly create value throughout the chain, instead of fixing issues here and there. And that’s what TTG Smart Lab is all about. We want to create ideas that are gradually formed into solutions. We also want to truly understand our customers to enable co-operation.
The best solutions are created when an idea is shaped in different minds, gradually developed and agilely tested before bringing a solution to the market. That’s what solution selling should be and that’s what we at TT Gaskets want to be, bringing Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow.