Today I had a Business Development Launchpad session with a new client who was struggling to consistently generate enough sales to make her business sustainable. She was just about keeping her head above water but was looking for a formula that would make lead generation and sales much easier for her. She wanted to spend more of her time doing what she was good at and getting paid for it.

Like most businesses I work with, this lady was doing most things right but there were just some subtle changes in thinking needed to go from surviving to thriving. Despite an impressive array of services, but she did not seem to understand why her prospects might be interested in buying them!

A common problem is that we become so focused on our products and services that we overlook why our prospective clients might want to buy them. The reality is that we ultimately get paid for solving our client’s problems and not for the method of solving them. Its true that our clients buy our products and services but only because they think they will help them solve some kind of problem or need.

One way to start to understand the problems your prospects are looking to solve is to understand what motivated your existing clients to start buying from you in the first place. Go through your client list and recall the problems they had when you first started to deal with them.

Lets look at, for example, an IT support company. They are selling IT support packages to smaller businesses that rely on their computers to run their business – effectively every small business these days! What are some of the problems business owners may have that might lead them to want help?

The answer is that it depends! Different business owners will have different problems but here are some possibilities:

Problems caused by moving from a central office to a network of home offices
Unreliable PCs causing costly ‘downtime’
Unreliable email causing problems in receiving enquiries
Money problems leading to the business looking to technology to help them save money

There are also lots of problems which tend to surface when prospects have had a scare such as loss of critical date due to a combination of computer failure and lack of back-up, or being at risk from viruses etc.

Looking for people who are interested in buying IT support contracts can be hard work. (Believe me, I have worked with a lot of them to help solve their lack of sales problems!) Instead they should be looking to start a conversation with people that have IT related problems that they want to fix. They do not need to have considered buying an IT support contract yet. All that matters is that they have problems that are costing them money and that they want to fix these problems.

When I say ‘costing them money’ it could be either a real cost or an opportunity cost. IT problems that result in lost enquiries may not be costing money directly. Indirectly they may be very expensive to clients in terms of lost business.

Selling can be easy, even in a recession, but it does takes a subtle shift in thinking. If you are struggling to generate enough leads then changing your mindset can make a significant difference and turn things around very quickly for you.