The standard solution selling process was developed based on technology sales but closely resembles the sales process often used in auto repair. In auto repair service delivery is often referred to as the 3 Cs – meaning Concern, Cause and Corrective Action. The solution selling methodology breaks the process down to a slightly lower level of detail but more importantly this method encompasses the overall customer relationship building process. So whereas the 3 Cs in auto repair focus on concern, cause (diagnosis and findings), and corrective action for one or more repair situations – solution strategies apply to every aspect of the customer relationship. Following are the steps found in most solution based selling processes and the way they relate to the auto repair service delivery process:
- Identify the Customer Need – This is the foundation of solution selling. Identifying the customer’s perceived need allows the appropriate solution to be matched to their requirements. In Auto Repair this is often referred to as ‘Concern’.
- Develop a Solution – Once the customer need is defined a solution can be put together. This is where the target market and individual perspective of the customer come in. In auto repair this is often called ‘Corrective Action’
- Connect the Solution to the Concern – The proposed solution must be related to the customer concern in terms they can understand. In solution selling the customer gains an understanding of how the solution will address the issue.
- Establish Value – As in any sales situation the customer must recognize value in what they’re purchasing. This part of the sales process focuses on how the solution is delivered and the other benefits of selecting the proposal.
- Negotiate a Win-Win Solution – There may be a need for some give and take in arriving at the final agreement. Arriving at a solution that works for both parties may require some adjustments to the proposal.
- Close – Gaining a commitment from the customer is the point at which the business is earned and the customer accepts the proposed solution. At this point the points of the solution should be documented, reviewed with the customer and acceptance should be acknowledged.
- Deliver – Providing the actual solution is a critical part of solution selling. What was promised must be delivered in order for the customer’s expectations to be met.
- Follow Up – Making sure that the customer is happy with what was provided completes the loop in solution selling. In auto repair this often referred to as ‘Confirmation’.