Avid readers of the Tonal Persuasion Method for Sales – and followers of the foundations of the methodology itself – will be familiar with the critical concept of solving problems for their buyers.

It is the ultimate frame through which to see any conversation – not only because it causes faster, more congruent purchasing, but also because it is the most effective way to have a buyer know they are cared for in the areas of their life that matter most to them.

Anyone can talk about a solution, but it takes intense curiosity and genuine care to go about solving a problem for a buyer – and that’s probably why they keep coming back time and time again to re-buy into the future as they know they’ll be truly taken care of.

But how is that we actually define a ‘problem’ before solving it to begin with? What are the components that make up a problem, and how do we know when we’ve found one for our buyers?

The answer, in one word, is:

Expectations.

Take a moment to think about any single problem you have in your life right now – big, small, only impacting you or involving others, any problem at all – and now realise this:

The only reason this is a problem is because you expected that your life would be different at this point in time. You expected that life wouldn’t involve the obstacle, challenge, illness, chore, or person that you’re currently experiencing – or at least not in the manner in which you are experiencing it.

Therefore, our problems – and the problems of our potential buyers – are essentially defined by the gap between where they currently are and where they expected they would be by now in any given area of their life.

If a house was expected to be built by July, but it’s now September and the bricks haven’t even been laid yet then we have a problem – its far from what we expected when we set a date to have the house built all those months ago. But if it were still January and the bricks hadn’t been laid yet, then that would actually be the expected outcome for that current time in the project, and wouldn’t be perceived as a problem.

If our client is currently earning $20,000 per month in their business and knows their competitor down the road who has all the same resources and services is earning double that, then our client begins to expect that they should also be able to do the same numbers.

Their expectation doesn’t match their reality, and they are therefore left with a problem that needs solving.

Once the problem has been clearly defined and outlined, we can then go on and offer our solution as the answer to closing such a gap – but no gap can ever be established without first establishing how our potential buyer expected things to be by now.

Make expectations your first port of call in your next sales conversation and watch as your buyer eagerly and enthusiastically defines their problem for you – then all that is left is for you to show them you’re the one to solve it!

Darcy J Smyth is the lead trainer and creator of the Tonal Persuasion Method for Sales, a methodology designed to ensure you are closing sales without the dreaded ‘Hard Sell’ that turns so many buyers away in the modern business landscape.

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