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sell the solution, not your product

Sales going down?

Struggling to engage customers and build loyalty for your business?

Want to differentiate yourself from competitors?

Many business owners face this problem because they focus on the wrong thing.

By the way, I’ll be sharing here only the snippet of what I’m going to discuss on my upcoming live workshop on February 3, 2024, Saturday, 9-12NN about beating your competitors. Get a ticket now for only Php499.

(now back to the discussion)

By changing one simple perspective in selling your products/services, you can get more paying customers that will also become free ambassadors sharing your brand to other people.

What is this “wrong thing?”

It’s really simple.

Some brands focus solely on selling products without understanding the underlying problems they try to solve.

By shifting your focus to problem-solving, you can differentiate yourself from competitors and provide true value to your customers.

You need to understand the problem you are addressing and align your products with customer needs.

In Bakás, my startup, we were trying to sell shirts.

But after hearing feedbacks from customers, we realized that they purchase from us not just because of the shirts but the message we’re putting out through the shirts.

We realized that we’re selling the feeling of not being alone, and not the items.

We’re selling the idea that mental health matters, not the physical products.

We’re selling the advocacy of breaking the stigma.

Let me share you one of the frameworks I learned recently.

I call this “Why On Repeat” framework.

I do this by repeating the "Why" question five times.

It is a problem-solving tool used to identify the root cause of a problem by asking "Why" multiple times until the underlying cause is revealed.

By digging deeper into the reasons behind a problem, this framework helps uncover the underlying issues and enables the development of effective solutions, including one that will help your target customers.

Here’s an example:

Problem: Traffic congestion in Manila which causes a lot of working population arrive late/stressed at work

Why on repeat 5 times:

  1. Why does traffic congestion in Manila cause the working population to arrive late and stressed at work?

  • Because the high volume of vehicles leads to slow-moving traffic, significantly increasing travel time.

  1. Why is there a high volume of vehicles, leading to slow-moving traffic?

  • Because many commuters in Manila rely on private vehicles, as they perceive them to be more reliable and convenient compared to the existing public transportation options.

  1. Why do commuters rely more on private vehicles than public transportation?

  • Because current public transportation systems are often overcrowded, not timely, and don't adequately cover all areas, making them a less viable option for many working professionals.

  1. Why are public transportation systems overcrowded and inefficient?

  • Due to insufficient infrastructure, inadequate number of vehicles to meet the demand, and lack of efficient route planning and scheduling.

  1. Why is there insufficient infrastructure and inadequate planning in public transportation?

  • Because of budget constraints, urban planning challenges, and a lack of integration of advanced technology in the transportation sector.


Reduce the dependency on private vehicles, thereby decreasing traffic congestion.


A ride-hailing app which will address these issues by offering flexible, efficient, and on-demand public transportation options, specifically motorcycles and private vehicles.

You might have used this solution before if you’re leaving in Metro Manila or in any metro city.

Notice that the “how” came after figuring out all the answers to “why” and even the solution is not talking about the exact product/service yet.

Try doing this now with your solution idea.

Work back if you’ve already thought of a solution.

Find that main problem and ask why 5 times.

With practice, this will just be easier to apply soon.

A possible objective I hear from people is that “Selling the solution instead of the product may lead to a decrease in sales."

While it is true that focusing on selling the solution rather than the product may require a shift in marketing strategies, it can actually lead to increased sales.

By addressing the real problems and needs of customers, businesses can build trust and loyalty.

When customers see that a product offers a genuine solution to their problems, they are more likely to make a purchase and become repeat customers.

Additionally, emphasizing the solution can differentiate a business from competitors and attract a target audience who values problem-solving.

Overall, selling the solution can lead to long-term success and customer satisfaction.

Hope you learned something from this.

Again, this is only part of my upcoming 3-hour live workshop on February 3, 2024, Saturday, 9-12NN about beating your competitors. Get a ticket now for only Php499.

-John Cornwill Social Entrepreneur & Social Media Ads Consultant

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