Are You Making This Fatal Mistake With Your Prospects?

Posted by Ben Kniffen in Uncategorized


Have you ever had a situation where a particular prospect or client obviously needs your product or service, but for whatever reason they just don't seem to get how badly they need it no matter how hard you try to convince them?

It's possible that the other person is just being stubborn, but more often than not, the reason your clients aren't listening to your solutions is something you're doing. Probably unconsciously.

Your client does need what you have to offer, but the truth is they’re not going to listen to you unless you frame your solutions properly.

And the odds are that at least sometimes, you're not.

Remember When…

Remember when you were a teenager? I know, you probably try not to. But just for a bit, humor me. At some point in your teens, you probably dated someone who your parents or your friends weren't as excited about as you were. And how do most people tell you they don’t like someone you’re dating?

They usually just blurt it by saying something like, “I don’t think she's right for you. You shouldn't date that girl.”

So there’s your solution delivered like a sledgehammer to the head. Boom. They tell you what they think you should or shouldn't do point blank.

Looking back on some of that advice years later, some of that advice was actually pretty spot-on and you should have listened to it, right? But the fact that you ignored that advice at the time has a lot to do with how it was delivered.

Back then, when the other person bluntly hit you with their solution for your relationship situation, how did you feel about it?

You probably found yourself discounting their advice by saying or thinking things like…

“You just don’t know him/her.”
“You don’t understand our relationship.”

There’s something about human psychology that makes us reject blunt, quickly delivered black-and-white solutions. It's such a strong reflex, that we may wind up acting in direct opposition to the solution with a, “Oh yeah? Well, watch this!” rebellious kind of response.

[bctt tweet=”#Sales Tip: Human psychology makes us reject blunt, quick solutions. Get to know the prospect 1st!”]

Pick Your Role

In this scenario of delivering a solution that hasn't yet been asked for or properly framed, you can wind up in one of two roles – neither of which are very useful in getting anything productive accomplished. You can be the hammer or you can be the nail.

If you’re the nail, you get pounded over and over with a solution you weren't expecting and don't understand yet.  And when that happens, you get pretty fed up with the pounding and ultimately wind up ignoring or resenting the solutions you're being given.

If you’re the hammer, you can't understand why this thick-headed person you're trying to help doesn't see how awesome your solution is. You come to the conclusion you're not making it clear enough… so you keep on hammering on your solutions over and over again hoping eventually the light bulb will magically come on and they'll understand.

Unfortunately, the truth is that if you don't change your approach, you won't see a change in the result either.

At LinkedSelling, we have the opportunity to work with a lot of business owners. We get to celebrate their wins with them – and we also help them through their mistakes and slip-ups.

One of the places we see a lot of businesses slip up is in how to present themselves and their solutions to their prospects and clients.

It's a mistake that's actually pretty simple to correct. But before I tell you how, watch the video below. I promise it will be worth your time…



That's pretty funny, but there's a deeper message about influence here, too.

It’s Not About Sex

While you might think that the video is a fun statement about how men and women communicate differently, there’s a more important psychological interaction going on here.

Untitled design (1)The underlying problem in this video and in the way many businesses present their company and their solutions to their prospects is really a problem of, “You’re not even trying to understand the situation or the problem before telling me how to fix it.”

Think about how that must feel for the woman in the video… or more importantly to your prospects.

Something's not right. There's discomfort and they can't put their finger on what it is. They have a lot of worry, fear, confusion – and a whole host of other emotions, but they can't see the solution as clearly as you do because they don't have your experience, they can't see what you see.

The solution is staring you right in the face and you know exactly how to fix it. But the client doesn't get it yet.

Now, you can choose to be like all your competitors who bombard the prospect with messaging about how awesome your company and your solutions are (whether they're actually a good fit for the situation or not) and become part of the marketing white noise.

Or you can choose to set yourself apart by truly understanding each individual client's situation and tailoring a solution to fit their needs. When you operate that way, you make your prospect feel heard, understood, and valued. And you have a much better chance of solving their problem.

[bctt tweet=”Be like your #competitors OR set yourself apart by truly understanding each individual #client”]

3 Ways to Ensure You're Delivering the Right Solutions to the Right People

1: Carefully craft your prospect profile

Yep. Pretty basic stuff, I know. And this actually comes way before offering a solution. As a business owner, your time is likely you most precious resource, so make absolutely sure the time you spend on your prospecting, outreach, and sales efforts are highly targeted only to the prospects who your solution can help.

This means you have to profile your prospects with laser accuracy. Luckily, we happen to be really good at that here at LinkedSelling. Check out this post for a step-by-step guide to properly targeting your prospects.

2: Remember that your interaction is about your prospects problem first – not your solution.

A lot of businesses make the mistake of trying to make their prospect's problem fit their existing solution. For instance, let's say I'm an expert video marketer. I mean I have it down pat. So no matter the situation, my go-to is to try to make my existing solution (video marketing) fit whatever business problem my potential client has.

It's really no different than having your transmission go out, and then having a brake shop try to sell you on new brakes to fix your problem. Make sure you understand the real problem first, and then try to offer an appropriate solution.

3: Learn to play a bigger game.

While you're prospecting and connecting with new people, if you're paying close attention, you're going to notice patterns. You'll start to see common needs among your prospects, and sometimes they'll be needs you can't currently fill because you don't have the experience or the knowledge yet.

That's why playing a bigger game is important. Embrace the idea of being a perpetual student. Take courses, read great industry content, attend seminars and online training sessions whenever possible to learn new skills and get the knowledge you need to create solutions for those clients.

[bctt tweet=”3 Ways to Ensure You're Delivering the Right Solutions to the Right People #prospects #marketing”]

I know you want to help people solve their problems. But even if you have the perfect solution in-hand, take the time to get to know the prospect, show them that you undertand their situation fully, and then offer an appropriate solution. You'll find that they'll be a ton more receptive.

You know that old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until you show them how much you care?”

It’s like that. Show that you care (and truly understand) first – and then show them what you know.

Putting it in Play

The next time you feel the temptation to prematurely hit a prospect with your solution, stop, remember this article, and listen instead. Ask questions. Then follow the steps outlined in this post.

Not only will you show your prospect they're important to you and you understand their situation, but you’ll also be much more successful in influencing them to take positive action.

And if you're on board with the idea of playing a bigger game, we have something special coming up for you on Monday April 11. We're holding a live workshop to help you maximize the effectiveness of all your current marketing efforts and teach some of our internal next-level strategies to really turbo-charge your future marketing efforts.

It's 100% free, and you can save your spot here.

But now, let's hear from you…

Have you ever been the hammer? (guilty of prematurely delivering solutions)

Have you been the nail? 

Let's talk about both in the comments!


  • My first sales manager used to say to me, “you have two ears and one mouth, use them in that ratio”.
    Thankfully, I listened.
    I was fortunate in that I was a very curious person and in the industries I sold into I was genuinely interested in how they produced their products … So, I asked a lot of questions … Until I really understood how they made their products and what their problems were.
    Certainly worked for me.

    • I may have been told that a few times in my sales career too, Greg 🙂

      And it’s great advice. I’ll bet you were a pretty successful salesperson with all the question asking and listening. Am I right?

  • Good article and worth the time to read.

    Actually I thought it was going to be “If you’re a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.” ; – )

  • Reading this was time well invested. 🙂 IMO, the know-care saying is the bottom line. We’ve got to get back to valuing relationships with people more than we love the money we can get from them.

  • This was a awesome article and pointed out exactly what is wrong with marketing today. Markering isn’t one size fits all not every company has the same problems. I have to say I am guilty of being the hammer even when trying to make it more generic and nit so technical. I will definately be using this method of getting to know your client first.

    • Hey Lance. Yeah, I think we’ve all been guilty of being the hammer from time to time. It’s just something you have to be aware of and get better at. Thanks for joining in!

  • Most sales people are in a rush to close without finding out much about the client. The relations with a prospect should be like that of a doctor-patient relationship. A doctor has to ask questions to make a near accurate diagnosis hence sales is the same way. You have to build rapport and commonality with open ended questions to know the client’s needs to offer a solution they can’t reject.