From education to employment

Second part of FE News” exclusive with D

Firstly, you must understand the need.

Probably the most fundamental part of selling a solution is to understand what the employer’s needs are. In this context there is a need to be part-consultant and part-sales person. Appreciating this and starting the process with an open mind will enable a solid start to be made when engaging with an employer.

Every employer is unique; every employer believes their needs are unique; no employer wants a one size fits all because of the previous two statements.

Whether you agree with the statements or not, the perception the employer has is the reality. If this is what the employer perceives then this is also the reality that you are faced with when you go to meet them.

The first part of selling a solution is to fully understand the employer business needs. Without this information you have no option but to sell what you have and hope that it might be what the employer wants. Unfortunately we see this a lot even though this style of selling has proven to be very ineffective and expensive.

By way of example, as an employer in a major software company I would judge whom I would do business with based on whether they displayed empathy and some understanding as to my core business issues; if they added value in helping me clarify my needs, and if they could meet my specific business needs with their solution.

And central to these questions is the concept of personalisation. Those statements are all focused on individual needs, and as an employer, this is where I would want the salesperson to focus. I do not want them to focus on trying to sell me an “out of the box” product.

Within these three criteria there are words that are the key to a solution based selling approach. They are “core business issues”, “add value” and “solution”. In the early phases of the employer engagement the employer will expect a college sales person to be able to address these three areas.

In order to find an employer’s core business issues there is a need for an effective engagement process coupled with a questioning technique that gets to the heart or core of the business needs. This approach needs to be structured in a way that leads the employer along a path that builds trust and empathy but at the same time gets to the root of the issues.

To be able to do this the sales person takes a consultative approach, allowing the employer to explore the issues in more depth. This process can unveil hidden needs that could present the opportunity to significantly expand the deal size. If done well, this consultative process will add significant value to the employer’s understanding and clarity of need. This is especially important when discussing fees and return on investment.

In today’s learning provision market there is a growing need to be able to respond to an employers needs. However in responding to this challenge do not underestimate how difficult it is to meet the three criteria listed above. Solution selling requires sales staff that are trained, supported with processes, tools and techniques (as can be found in the Employer Engagement Coach) to be effective.

The Employer Engagement Coach is available as a web based service from Perperitus Ltd. Details of the costs and membership benefits can be found at or if you have specific questions please call 0118 965 4066 or email David Batup at [email protected].

David Batup, Managing Partner, Perperitus Ltd.

Next Friday exclusively on FE News: Concluding the series, David Batup writes on developing and selling the solution

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