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Problem Solving in Sales: 7 Techniques To Improve Your Skill

Sales Training
Chris Orlob
March 21, 2024

In sales, mastering problem-solving becomes the bridge between closing deals and losing opportunities.

Why? Because at its core, sales is applied problem-solving. You're not simply closing deals or pushing products; you're removing obstacles that prevent your customers from achieving their goals.

This is why exceptional salespeople consistently close deals faster and retain customers more effectively. They transform from average salespeople into trusted advisors, empowering their clients through problem-solving expertise.

In the following sections, you’ll learn in detail what problem solving means in sales and 7 techniques to improve your problem solving skills as a salesperson. 

Don't let challenges hold you back! Explore how Pclub can equip you with the tools and strategies to overcome obstacles and close deals with confidence. 👉Get Instant Access 🔥

What is Problem Solving in Sales?

Effective sales rely on understanding unique customer challenges and crafting solutions that effectively address them. 

Here's how to master the problem-solving process for sales success:

Uncover the Problem

  • Actively listen to customer feedback.
  • Ask insightful questions to delve deeper into their pain points.
  • Identify the root cause of their challenges.

Break it Down

Go beyond surface-level concerns and understand the problem's core.

Come up with an Effective Solution

  • Leverage product/service knowledge to tailor solutions for their specific needs.
  • Demonstrate how your offering delivers value and addresses their challenges.

Overcome Objections

  • Anticipate potential concerns.
  • Present your solution effectively to address objections and build trust.

By mastering these steps, you can transform into a trusted advisor who consistently closes deals and fosters lasting customer relationships.

Why is Problem Solving Important in Sales? 

Problem-solving has become even more important in sales today due to several key factors:

Adapting to evolving customer needs

Today's marketplace is highly competitive, with customers having access to a wider range of options than ever before. This means that simply having a good product or service isn't enough. 

Salespeople need to devise new and better ways to understand the unique needs and challenges of each customer and demonstrate how their offering solves those specific problems in a way that stands out from the competition.

Differentiation from competition

Customers face a sea of similar options, so simply offering a good product isn't enough. This is where problem-solving becomes your weapon.

By sharpening your problem-solving skills, you can:

  • Uncover unique customer challenges: Go beyond generic features and identify the specific issues customers face.
  • Craft effective solutions: Showcase how your offering addresses their pain points, not just features.
  • Shift the conversation: Move from features to solutions, positioning yourself as a trusted advisor, not just a salesperson.
  • Become proactive: Anticipate customer needs and offer preventive solutions, gaining a competitive edge.

Essentially, problem-solving allows you to differentiate yourself. By addressing customer challenges effectively, you demonstrate the true value your offering brings, justifying your price point and present a compelling proposition that stands out from the crowd. 

Build trust and long-term relationships

Today’s buyers want an almost rep-less buyer journey because they don’t trust salespeople to promote their best interest. This is why building trust and long-term relationships with customers is more important than ever. Salespeople who can demonstrate their ability to solve sales problems effectively are perceived as valuable advisors and trusted partners. This fosters loyalty and repeat business, which is crucial for sustainable success.

How To Improve Your Sales Problem-Solving Skills 

1. Improve your sales acumen with expert-led sales training programs

Sales acumen is the combination of skills, knowledge, and experience that empowers you to excel at selling. This includes:

  • Understanding and empathizing with customer pain points
  • Anticipating customer needs proactively
  • Tailoring solutions to specific challenges
  • Build trust through expertise, active listening, and empathy
  • Collaborating effectively as part of a problem-solving team

While these skills seem essential for any salesperson, a surprising statistic reveals that only 13% of clients feel salespeople truly understand their needs. This highlights a gap between how sellers approach sales and how buyers want to buy, often due to inadequate problem-solving skills. If you can’t uncover your customer’s problems and needs you don’t stand a chance at selling them a solution.

Investing in expert-led sales training can bridge this gap significantly. Programs like the Pclub's Platinum Passport offer exclusive access to learn directly from the top 0.01% of sales professionals. These training programs can equip you with the practical problem-solving and B2B sales skills necessary to:

  • Uncover and understand your customer’s needs and challenges in-depth.
  • Develop tailored solutions that resonate with their specific circumstances.
  • Navigate complex situations and objections with confidence and clarity.
  • Build trust and credibility as a trusted advisor who can solve their problems effectively.

2. Develop a high emotional intelligence threshold

2024 brings a complex sales landscape: cautious buyers, increased stakeholder involvement in purchases, and longer sales cycles. This environment demands a crucial skill: high emotional intelligence (EQ).

Here's why EQ is essential:

  • Deeper Customer Understanding: Salespeople with high EQ excel at building rapport and fostering trust. They can read social cues, understand emotions, and create an open environment where clients freely express their challenges and emotions. This leads to deeper understanding and accurate diagnoses of customer problems.
  • Confidently Handling Objections: Objections are inevitable, but high EQ salespeople view them as opportunities to uncover deeper needs. They remain calm and composed, acknowledge concerns, and address them with empathy, transforming objections into chances to craft compelling solutions.
  • Adaptable Communication: Tailoring your approach to each customer's unique personality and decision-making style is key in sales. High EQ allows you to adapt your communication based on emotions, leading to relevant and impactful solutions that resonate with each individual.

By mastering EQ, you become a trusted advisor, equipped to navigate the complexities of modern sales and consistently close deals effectively.

3. Learn how to identify your buyer’s true pain points

Your potential customer’s true pain point is the challenge that aligns with their financial priorities. Every business operates within limited financial resources, which forces them to prioritize how they allocate these resources. 

When a pain point directly impacts their financial priorities, it creates a sense of urgency and justifies the investment in a solution. This urgency becomes crucial for successful sales negotiations and closing deals.

Even if you possess the best of emotional intelligence and sales negotiation skills, struggling to sell against the core financial challenge can hinder success.

Consider your reaction to the illustration below: 

  • Person A: Needs visibility for better sales coaching (solution-oriented statement).
  • Person B: Faces an urgent need to prevent a significant valuation loss due to cash flow issues.

Clearly, Person B exhibits a more defined and urgent problem. Person A, while facing a challenge, frames it as a solution they already have in mind.

The key here is to master how to identify the "Why" behind the "What". That’s how you uncover the true business pain point. 

4. Improve your sales negotiation skills

Negotiation is an integral part of the sales process, and mastering it is crucial for effective problem-solving. 

A HubSpot study reveals that 58% of buyers want to discuss pricing on the very first call. This can be a major obstacle for salespeople as it can lead to premature price discussions before the value proposition has been established.

Diving into price negotiations without establishing yourself as the preferred vendor is risky. It often leads to over-discounting because the focus shifts to price point instead of the value your product or service offers. 

This scenario makes it difficult to achieve a win-win outcome as the buyer lacks a clear understanding of the business value you bring.

Honing your sales negotiation skills helps you overcome this challenge and become a more effective problem-solver.

5. Leverage team collaboration

Problem-solving is rarely a solo endeavor. Sales leaders and sales managers should encourage collaboration inside the  sales team specifically for developing new problem-solving techniques. 

Sales team members can initiate brainstorming sessions with the marketing strategy department or even social media team to uncover innovative solutions. 

That way, you share insights and strategies that not only enhance the sales process  but also foster a culture of continuous improvement and learning within your team.

6. Include creativity in your sales process

Including creativity in your sales process is about strategically applying creative thinking and unconventional approaches to enhance your creative problem-solving process and ultimately, create a better sales strategy. 

Here's how creativity empowers your sales reps to solve problems and close deals:

  • Capture Attention: Move beyond conventional outreach tactics. Remember how Gong secured a meeting through a personalized video pitch from the Old Spice Guy? This unexpected approach cuts through the noise and increases engagement.
  • Simplify Complexities: Transform static case studies into engaging animated customer success stories. Adding visual elements and a touch of whimsy simplifies complex solutions, creating emotional resonance and fostering understanding.
  • Connect on an Emotional Level: People remember stories 12 times better than facts. By weaving compelling narratives into your presentations, you create a memorable customer experience, fostering trust and leaving a lasting impression beyond statistics.

By embracing creativity, you become more than just a salesperson; you transform into a strategic problem solver equipped to diagnose specific challenges and overcome them effectively.

7. Analyze sales data to generate insights

Much of sales success relies on your ability to transform information into valuable insights. That’s why being able to analyze sales performance data and metrics to make informed decisions is a vital sales skill

Sales data, often housed in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, acts as a goldmine of insights waiting to be discovered. 

By analyzing metrics like win/loss ratios, conversion rates, and sales cycle length, you can uncover hidden patterns and trends that might be the root cause of various sales challenges. 

Is your lead generation strategy falling short? Data analysis can reveal specific challenges, areas to optimize for improvement, such as ineffective marketing campaigns or a mismatch between your ideal customer profile and your targeted outreach efforts.

Enhance your problem solving skills with expert-led sales training programs

Ready to take your problem solving skills to the next level? Pclub offers expert-led courses that help you upskill key areas of your sales process where problem solving is required. 

Take the first step towards a more profitable future. Unlock all courses today with a platinum passport and enjoy personalized mentorship and training solutions that guarantee a solid foundation for your team’s success. 

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Profile picture of Alex Moffitt

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