Sell the Problems You Solve

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People will say that they are basing their purchase on price, but usually that’s not the case. They’re really seeking out your product or service for the problem you solve. Practice focusing on the problems that need solving instead of just talking about the features and benefits of what you sell.

I admit it. I may have been thinking like a cheapskate.

I regret that thinking and am glad that we ultimately chose the wiser option.

What am I talking about? Our generator installation.

The first generator company who visited us gave us a higher price than expected. Not by a lot, but it was still more than we’d expected.

The second contractor gave us a ballpark range where his high end was our expected cost. But he didn’t just differ in price. He differed in many other ways:

  • With the lower-priced contractor, we’d have to install the concrete pad that the generator sits on. The first contractor provided a precast concrete slab that was installed for us.
  • Going with the cheaper option, we’d have to dig our trenches for the electric and gas lines ourselves OR we’d have to be okay with him running the lines above ground through our crawl space (I’m not even sure that’s allowed by code, but that was his solution). The first contractor carefully hand-dug the trench (around our plants) at the appropriate depth called for by code.
  • With the less expensive contractor, we’d have to coordinate inspections with the county while the first company handles those details for us. 
  • Going the “economical” route, we’d have to shop around for our generator and transfer switch, get it delivered, and then wait a few months for a break in his schedule. Meanwhile, the first company was ready to go with a full crew, and the generator we needed was already in inventory.

It didn’t take us long to realize that if we nickel-and-dime this investment, we’d regret it. 


So we signed papers with the first company, and 10 days later, we had a crew of four guys here working on the installation for 2.5 days. They were polite; they were methodical in their approach, and they even took off their boots before coming into our home.

For us, our problem was in February, we’d lived without power for 30 hours due to an ice storm. And our concerns were:

  1.  We know power outages will happen again, and
  2. We know we were lucky that it was only 30 hours. Our neighbors told us so.

While we aren’t fragile flowers (my husband was in the Army for 24 years, and I was at his side for 16 of ‘em), we’ve reached a time in our lives where we don’t want to have to deal with that situation again. 

And the solution we had in mind didn’t involve spending time shopping for a generator (and all the components) and dealing with coordinating inspections. We don’t have the knowledge to comfortably or efficiently handle those details. We want it done for us. That’s why we sought out a professional contractor! 

The Problems You Solve Cannot Be Glossed Over

The skills and knowledge that you bring to the table that cannot be glossed over. These are the reasons why your potential clients will be seeking you out, too. They are purposely seeking out the problems you solve!

Whether you are a painter, a landscaping company or a design/build remodeling contractor, you have invested in building your professional team. Each member has years of skills and knowledge. Help your customers understand all that you bring to the equation.

  • Does your homeowner want to run all over town shopping for finishes and fixtures? Or can your design team help them coordinate those details so they 1) save time and 2) are ensured that they get the kitchen of their dreams?
  • Does your homeowner want to chance that their HVAC system may freeze up during the hot summer? Or can they greatly minimize this risk by signing up for a maintenance agreement where their system gets a 31-point annual inspection that will identify any potential issues?
  • Does your homeowner want to spend a month’s worth of weekends laying out heavy pavers for a patio or retaining wall? Or can they get the landscape feature they want quicker and easier while enjoying the beautiful weekend weather doing other hobbies?

It’s only natural for homeowners to initially hesitate on price, but most customers are just looking for a solution to their problem or concern. It’s up to you to present it to them in a way they understand the real value you bring to every job you do.


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