Sell the Problem, Not the Solution. Sell the Disaster, Not Disaster Recovery. This may seem counter-intuitive, misguided or just plain wrong so let’s start out by asking a more fundamental question. Why do people buy? Answer. For 1 of 2 reasons:
  1. To avoid Problems they don’t want. (PAIN)
  2. To get Results they don’t have. (GAIN)
Where do you spend the majority of your time in a typical customer conversation today? Are you talking about The Problem or The Solution (Results they don’t have)? Should you be selling The Problem (Pain) or The Solution (Gain)? And the correct answer, of course, is The Problem (Pain)! Correct, but incomplete. The fully correct answer is sell both, but the order is critical for success. Sell The Problem first and when The Problem has been agreed and it’s severity and financial impact recognized and understood then – and only then – sell The Solution. If you don’t get buy-in and agreement on The Problem, then don’t sell The Solution. But what do some well-intentioned sales professionals do? They sell The Solution in the hope that the customer has identified and fully understood the severity of The Problem and the urgency to find a solution to The Problem. Delegating this responsibility to the customer is unwise and a very risky sales strategy at best.

Are you selling the Beach or the Graveyard?


Which is the stronger driver of human behavior? PAIN or GAIN? Answer: PAIN. Because we are genetically programed from birth to protect and defend ourselves and avoid pain. Survival instincts are genetically programmed in our DNA.

Your job is to take people to the negative future (the Graveyard) first by showing them just how exposed they are to massive risk and impending danger. Take them to the worst-case scenario that they do not even want to imagine. Take them to the black future, “the end of the world” for their area of business responsibility. Then take them to the perfect future; paradise, utopia, nirvana (the Beach).

The best way to take people to the negative future is by using questions.

Nothing redirects people’s thinking better than a well-phrased question

Example for DRaaS/Business Continuity Services:

Question 1:   What are you trying to protect?
Question 2:   What are the relevant threats?
Question 3:   How comfortable are you with your organization’s ability to detect and respond to a recognized threat before your data is compromised?

The 5 Killer Questions:
  1. What is the single biggest security threat that you face in 2018?
  2. What is the cost of a Data Breach to your business today?
  3. How are you protecting your business against security risks today?
  4. When was the last time you backed up all your valuable business data?
  5. What percentage of your IT budget is currently allocated to DRaaS and Business Continuity Services?

Then present data that supports and validates the negative future the client has just imagined.

Finally, take your customer to the beach by sharing 1 or 2 recent and relevant Customer Success Stories describing the results and ‘peace of mind’ that they are now enjoying since they started using your DRaaS/Business Continuity services.

3 Key Takeaways:
  1. Sell the Problem, Not the Solution. Sell the Disaster, Not Disaster Recovery
  2. Use questions to direct your customers’ thinking to the severity and urgency to solve The Problem or the impact of not having The Solution. (see 5 Killer Questions above)
  3. Build of library of “black stories” (Graveyard stories) that you can use in different customer scenarios that are highly relevant and impactful in sensitizing customers to The Problem. Then build a library of matching customer success stories describing the better future that those customers who have adopted your Solution are enjoying. (Beach stories)