Your Sales Story Needs A Problem, A Solution, And A Resolution

The best way for somebody to understand what you do is to tell them a quick story about it. Don’t tell them your entire life’s journey. Don’t tell them the epic history of your company. Definitely don’t brag about how great you are. Simply distill the basic message down into a story format by stating a problem, pointing out a solution, and explaining how to solve for it, aka resolution. Let’s break each step down:

State a problem that people come to you for help solving.

Point out what a solution to that problem sounds, looks, and/or feels like.

Explain a resolution, or what steps you’d actually take to help get the problem gone.

Here’s an example for a New England lawn service with each section broken out for clarity:

(Problem) Look, it sucks to keep up with a lawn all summer in New England. It’s not raining enough, it’s raining too much, there’s too many weeds, there’s some weird fungus from the humidity… the list is never-ending.

(Solution) We feel your pain. Wouldn’t you rather have somebody who knows what to do at each twist and turn of the season so your lawn doesn’t either explode or die? Well, that’s what we do.

(Resolution) Our clients have weekly planned treatments and then as-needed services depending on what the world throws at us any given season. We know how to keep your lawn healthy, green, and thriving. You should see our work, I’m really proud of it.

The more clearly we can state the problem, the more clearly our potential customers can identify with it. Paint the picture. Raise the stakes. In our example, a frustrated regular person might immediately say, “Wow! Yes. I know!” Conversely,
a DIY lawn enthusiast will quickly say, “This isn’t for me” and move on. Both are great responses. Both keep the company moving forward without having to force sales or struggle with people who don’t see their value.

When we layout our solution in this format we are inviting whoever is across the table from us to imagine themselves in the story. Stories suck people in. The story of the lawn service doesn’t have to be Star Wars to hold someone’s attention, it just has to be presented the right way.

It really is this easy. Keep the message simple. Keep the message clear. Follow the problem, solution, resolution template and get the right clients in the door, the right people on board with your project, or whatever else you are seeking enrollment for.

Problem, solution, resolution is a Donald Miller-ism. See more of his work at StoryBrand and Business Made Simple.