Daily Archives: December 5, 2016

Seeking and Using Alternative Solutions

Most problems have more than one solution.  You can offer several solutions to a problem or you may have a single approach that works for some clients and not others.  Either way it helps to show you are aware of alternative solutions.  And what do you do when nothing works?

This question is step 2 of the Awareness Ladder and here it is important to show prospects you are aware of alternative solutions.  In your publicity, you can discuss alternatives and use them to move your prospects to consideration of your solution, step 3.  For certain prospects, your solution will be the best.

How to Explain Alternative Solutions

There are several ways you can move someone from alternatives to considering your solution.

  • Ignoring the alternatives may be an option. You may feel exploring alternatives will distract clients from your approach.  Possibly, you have considered the alternatives and don’t rate any of them.  Yours is the only feasible, affordable solution so why bother describing the rest?  However, if your prospects are familiar with the alternatives, consider whether you can afford to ignore them.
  • Explain why each alternative is not as good as your solution. This can work but take care you’re not overly negative or misrepresent the alternatives.  This may be effective where you have some technical innovation and so other solutions are out of date.  Alternatively, your offer may be a paradigm shift, arguably superior because it takes into account factors not considered by earlier solutions.
  • Your solution works well for a particular market. Here you aim to help visitors find the right solution for them.  If you are looking for x, go here, for y go there and if you’re seeking z then we have exactly what you are seeking.  This way you are not rubbishing other solutions and indeed being helpful by signposting them.  So long as you are crystal clear about your market, this can be effective.  When prospects read about their take on the problem, explained accurately, they will seriously consider your offer.
  • Explain why your solution is better than the others. So, if it is cheaper, explain why it is cheaper.  Your new method may introduce some new insight that has brought down costs.  Prospects may need reassurance about the quality of your offer.

How Well Known are the Alternative Solutions?

If you are scraping around, seeking arcane approaches to your prospects’ problem, just possibly you don’t need to fill a lot of space explaining about the alternatives.

If there are alternatives, your prospects need to know why they should consider your solution.  For example, many organisations seeking a website will consider a website designer.  Very often they know little about website design and choose perhaps the cheapest.

They need to know the risks when making that choice.  They may be lucky but often a £500 website is a waste of money.  Indeed larger sums of money can be wasted because the prospect is not aware of likely pitfalls or other options.

You could ask and answer questions your prospects are likely to ask or have not thought of asking.  This is an educational approach, you are not simply debunking alternative solutions but helping the prospect understand what they really need.

Some solutions, perhaps including yours, may not be well-known and raise issues  your prospects have not considered.

On Being Stuck

Sometimes no approach, including your own, will work.  Being stuck is not a bad place to be but it needs patience on your part and your client’s.  Maybe you have overlooked some issue that negates your approach. Or maybe you are on the verge of a new insight!

So, your client has tried everything, including your suggestions.  You’ve reviewed everything they tried and as far as you can see they have tried everything with diligence.

The most important thing is patience.  You have two brains working on the problem and one of you is likely to have an insight.

But perhaps not today.  You may need to take a break and allow your subconscious to work on the problem.  Take a break but keep in touch.  If you have a germ of an idea (once referred to as a maggot!) share it!  Communicate insights, however trivial they may seem to be.  You don’t know what might trigger a breakthrough in your mind or the other person’s.

So, celebrate being stuck!  Welcome the opportunity to venture into unexplored territory.

Have you a story of being stuck and making a breakthrough?