Just the other week, I was talking to a business owner about the services he provides. He commented that many times people don’t know the problem they are solving when potential solutions land in front of them. They grab onto what they believe is a solution before they ever really understand what the problem is and then end up finding out the solution they purchased, didn’t solve the problem.
It is an easy trap to fall into. In a moment you are struggling with sales, and you happen to see a program that promises you….if you just set up a click funnel on your website (for example), it will triple your sales, so you buy it. You believe you are going to solve your sales problem. You work diligently implementing this new solution, but in the end, nothing changes.
Chances are the solution didn’t work, because you were solving the wrong problem. The lack of sales could have been a whole range of things; a brand awareness problem, it could be that no one knows you even have a website, it could be that your target market doesn’t shop online, it could be that there is a product issue. The list goes on and on, but when you are not getting a result, it is because you are unclear on the real problem.
The challenge in finding the real problem, is it can be hard to find it on your own. We each look at a problem with our own filters, and sometimes when we are “in” the issue it can be difficult to see what is really going on. Think about it like a box. If you are inside a box, you only see the things inside the box. There can be a lot of stuff outside, but you will never know it is there, because you only see it from your filters.
The second thing is often emotions end up ruling the day. You are so frustrated with having the problem, and want to get out of that feeling, so the solution in front of you can be the answer to getting out of the emotion but not the problem. The solution can be like a reprieve from focusing on the problem.
So how do you avoid buying the wrong solution?
First step is to get clear on “what” problem are you really solving. That means questioning your own thoughts and ideas. For example, in the sales issue. What if you were to go and ask people and really listen to what they are saying? Ask them all kinds of questions, not to make a sale, but to listen to how they answer and to find out what is important to them. Alternatively, you could go an seek out someone who has done what you are looking to do and ask them what worked for them. What is important is to let go of you preconceived ideas and to really try and understand what those people are saying. Be curious.
The second step is to do the hard work of getting clear on what you are solving yourself. The emotions of frustration or pressure make it easy to react. We all know when we react without thinking, often times we don’t like the result. Take a step back, take a deep breath and realize that with a cool head, you can get clear on the real issue. Learn to put the emotion off to the side.
When you are clear on what you are solving, then results are never far behind. The better you get at identifying your blind spots, the easier it is to evaluate the problem and the solution.