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What The Founder of T-Mobile Taught Me About Sales


The only reason people buy is to solve problems.

People will buy if the product or service on offer will solve an underlying problem of some kind. There are no exceptions to this. Scan your life for a single circumstance where you were compelled to purchase a product or service that did not solve a perceived (it’s all perception) problem for you.

One of the biggest mistakes many salespeople make is talking too much about the features or benefits.

This will cost you sales!

What the client really wants is to know how your product or service will solve the problems you’ve helped them uncover. They are hanging on every word you’re saying, so make sure you utilise these moments as you’ve done all the hard work to get here.

Talking about anything else except how the features will directly impact their problems will decrease their motivation to buy.

When looking to engage your prospects, you need to connect with the underlying frustration they are feeling. A problem is something they have, but don’t want. Problem-solving lies at the heart of billion-dollar businesses.

In my early years in the UK, I had the good fortune to talk with Mike Harris, founder of three billion-pound companies – Egg, First Direct, and T-Mobile. He explained that the principle behind creating each company was to find a problem that millions of consumers in the marketplace were experiencing and then solve it.

‘The clearer you are about the unmet needs [problems] of your clients, the easier you make it for them to buy from you.’  – Mike Harris

Mike went on to explain that by exploring the problems of your clients, you begin to understand their world and the frustrations and challenges they’re experiencing.

Focusing on problems lies at the heart of the Key Person of Influence methodology as well.

It allows you to not only have more meaningful sales conversations but also to understand what type of content to create to engage dormant prospects and awaken them to problems they aren’t currently aware of.

Problems tend to be hidden under the surface. They’re the things we don’t like to admit. This explains why they’re not always obvious to the untrained eye.

In contrast, people are far more vocal about what they perceive as their needs, and willingly express them as things they’d like to have. The surface-level need has much to do with the underlying problem, but one is driven by pain and the other is driven by pleasure.

As problems and needs are complementary opposites, addressing a superficial need without first identifying the underlying pain is inefficient and ineffective. It’s like treating the symptom, but missing the cause – it’s better to hit the source directly.

If you and your sales team learn how to get to that root cause – your client’s perceived problem – you will be guaranteed to reach a whole new level of sales skills and results, and the transformation will happen quickly.

My good friend and founder of Super Genius, Ryan Pinnick, joined my sales team back in 2009. Although Ryan was a natural communicator, he focused on the needs and wants of clients, and struggled initially.

After some training where I helped him redirect his efforts, he went from making one sale a week to making one a day, sometimes more. He ended up getting so good at identifying prospects’ problems that he was making sales for workshops he had never even been on.

Fast forward eight years and Ryan has gone on to build one of the world’s leading mentoring and workshop training programs to help people find their super genius.

Each year, over 3,000 people attend his workshops, and at the heart of how Ryan and his team attract their audiences is revealing how their workshops will help the attendees solve the problems they have in their lives.

Here’s what Ryan said about his journey:

“All along, I thought I knew my customers. I thought I was meeting their needs too. But then, after going through Mike’s sales system, I realised I was way off.

Once I saw what I was missing, I began to incorporate it into my sales presentations. When I pre-empted and addressed my customers’ real frustrations, they opened right up. Finally, they were being understood.

Now I’ve taken that same understanding and applied it to selling from the stage in a one-to-many dynamic. My team is also applying the same principles and reaping the rewards.

Fundamentally, applying the sales culture process allows you to understand your clients better, which allows you to connect and engage with them on a deeper level.

Because I’m so clear on what their problems are and what they want their solutions to look like, when I make a recommendation, they know it’s delivered with the best intention and it ultimately serves them the best.”

And the proof is in the pudding. Super Genius has experienced 200% growth year on year and is now a healthy seven-figure business.

I encourage you to dive deeper into your customer’s minds and aim to understand those underlying problems. Focus on talking about the solutions to those problems, and your sales will increase.