The Importance of Selling the Problem Rather Than the Solution

by / ⠀Career Advice Finding Customers / September 20, 2022

It’s definitely not easy for an entrepreneur to make his products or services noticed. After all, the competition in the business world is pretty stiff. What can you do to ensure your idea stands out? It’s your approach that makes all the difference. If you make an effort to sell the problem instead of the solution, you will force people to take notice of what you have to say.

Let’s give you an example. Do you know how YouTube was conceptualized? The founders hated that there wasn’t a proper video-sharing platform. And they decided to take matters into their own hands. Yes, YouTube was initially promoted as a video-sharing platform. Of course, it became much bigger, but this is how the idea gained mileage.

If you convince people they have a problem, they will be more inclined to give your proposed solution a chance. And this is your key to success!

Why Sell the Problem and Not the Solution?

“You have to start with the customer experience and work backward to the technology.” – Steve Jobs

Jobs understood at the right time that until people feel the need for your product, they won’t consider changing their ways. Think about it. If people hadn’t recognized how the lack of technology was holding them back, would they have considered giving up traditional ways and embracing the innovations so wholeheartedly?

selling the problem rather than the solution

It’s common for good salespeople to sell the solution. But people who actually sell the problem are the real deal! Because they have understood how to gain attention and stand out among the masses! So, if you want the best results, this is what you need to do. If you follow this approach, you will witness your product or service getting the kickstart you had envisioned.

If you observe the best salespeople, you will notice that before they introduce any product to their customers, they ask for their customer’s requirements. They endeavor to gain insight into their customers’ problems. And then prove to them that a particular product can help deal with the problem in the best way possible.

How to Understand Your Customers to Sell the Problem?

understand your customers

It’s tricky to come up with unique ideas. One thing you will notice in most startups is that the ideas are pretty similar, but it’s the packaging that makes all the difference. And this is what you have to learn.

Think about it. What’s the best way to solve a problem? First, you have to understand it! Of course, you can hope to get lucky, too, but this will seldom work out. If you want consumers to give your product a chance, you have to make them feel the need for it. And this is where your marketing will come into the picture.

For instance, Snapchat was introduced as a safe way to share your pictures or videos. But if people did not realize how sharing their pictures or videos can lead to problems, would they have considered using Snapchat?

Would people have wanted to use filters in their photos if they didn’t feel that images lacked fun and humor without them?

The founders and marketing team of successful startups ensured that people felt something was amiss. They identified a problem and then tried to educate people about it. And then bam! Introduced their product or service as the perfect savior.

Here’s what you have to keep in mind. Your customers don’t really care about cool features until they understand how these features can make a difference. You have to show them how your proposed solution can make a difference.

Win Customers

One thing you will notice when you try to sell something is that people will view you suspiciously. They will think you just want to sell them something, which is why you are trying to convince them that your product can solve their problem.

win customers

But what if you introduce them to a problem they hadn’t even noticed until now? You won’t have to convince them to buy your product in that case. They will naturally be attracted to it to solve the impending problem. And this will give your sales a boost as you had never imagined!

You have to use the customers’ words. Try to make your idea more relatable. Introduce the problem and show it to the world. Prove that the issue had been there for a bit but not given the attention it deserved. And then let the world see how the problem can be solved with your services.

Remember, it’s not easy for a startup, new product, or service to get attention. There are simply too many options out there. If you don’t want your idea to get lost amidst the crowd, you have to work on your approach. Sell the problem, and you will get the results you have been looking for!

About The Author


Tauseeq Magsi has been a writing geek for the past six years. He has written about Tech, Finance, Leadership, Business, and more. He loves helping others achieve their goals, and he hopes to continue helping people through his writing for many years to come. In addition to writing, Tauseeq Magsi loves to travel and learn new things.