This article originally appeared on the SpyGlass website and was written by past IES speaker Jose Palomino.

Understanding your customer’s Problem State is a key dimension of the Business Conversation, one of the 5 Pivotal Conversations that my team and I (and our clients) believe are key to closing any larger and more complex deal.

Done right, professional selling is all about offering a solution to a customer’s problem. The customer has a need, and you may or may not have the offering to fulfill this need. The most important thing is understanding the Problem State from your customer’s point of view.

Notice – not understanding your customer’s problem. Experienced sales professionals often fall into the trap of “I know what they need” and never confirm the issue or challenge what matters most to their customers – in their customer’s own words.

To fully understand your customer’s Problem State, you need to listen to them, ask them pertinent questions, and get a vision of what they want for the future. The importance of trust, strong client relationships, and a common goal cannot be overstated.

  • Do your client conversations focus too much on the past, and past mistakes?
  • How do you begin client interactions? By focusing on the sale, or the people?
  • Once you have identified your client’s problems, do you bring a lasting solution to the table? Or do you tend to focus issues that your offering cannot solve?

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