Product Selling vs Solution Selling
(by Thiang Cheong Yew, SmartSys Solutions Pte Ltd, Singapore)
Many years back, I ever worked for a large IT Multi-national corporations (MNC), in enterprise sales division. One of the sales buzzwords I learned was that “Always tell your customers we are solution selling company.” The giant computer company was trying to change the way the world’s thinking about a computer hardware manufacturer. The objective was to establish a new image by “brain-wash” each individual sales person from “box selling” mentality. The underlying philosophy of solutioning is to understand the customer’s IT requirements into workflow processes and information needs. Next will be the features and functionalities of application software for discussing with and demonstrating to prospective clients. Hardware is viewed as a data processing tools to generate the required results. A total solution concept requires not only the sales person with in-depth understanding of own product and perhaps, possessing wide knowledge of third-party product. In most circumstances, no single vendor products can fulfill all the client’s needs. Very often, one of evaluation criteria for a time and attendance systems is to integrate with existing  payroll  systems. How well the time and attendance system can generate and feed the required attendance data into popular payroll systems, it becomes an important selling point as well as a discussion area during the product demo session.
About a month ago, I was in a demo session presenting the FingerTec TA100 features. One of the key requirements was the capability to produce an update attendance report as and when required. As the company is in building and construction business, streamlining workforce time and attendance reporting and payroll processing is always a key focus area for better managing and deploying workers for several projects running concurrently. From time to time to

time, specialized skill workers are assigned to work on one project site to another. Knowing project site offices are usually a temporary work place with limited IT support or even computer literate admin personnel around, the solution must not require any human interaction and yet reliable. Prior to this meeting, I did a research on connecting remote FingerTec terminals from a centralized site. I discussed with Mr.Pang of FingerTec on the technical feasibility of remote accessing of FingerTec Terminals. Based on the fixed IP configuration diagram provided, I further explored the router with port Forwarding configuration setting with dynamic domain name. By twisting and turning the ADSL router configuration and running Dynamic domain name update program, it is possible to perform TCMS V2 attendance download and user details update functions over internet cloud. Networking is certainly not the services I am providing, nevertheless the client’s purchase decision is depending very much if one can propose a solution that meeting the requirements.

Another good example is during the meeting of prospective clients showing the biometric door access system. Typically, discussion of door access function can somehow lead to door opening for visitors outside at the door entry area, followed by switching topic to discuss how the receptionist can talk to visitors using intercome system. Well, a little research work into wiring and costing with major brands of audio or video door phone systems prior to meeting is always a plus!
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