When clients and customers come to you for your help, you're probably the expert. Like a skilled doctor, you can look at their symptoms, find out what the underlying problem is, and prescribe the best solution.
But what if the best solution isn't actually the right solution?
A client of ours recently shared a story that demonstrates this. He has an employee whose primary role is not sales. That employee frequently goes for the ultimate fix, coming up with solutions that will never break again. While that's generally a good thing, they ran across a potential customer who didn't need the ultimate solution. They had time as a much bigger concern than a long-term fix. They needed to get out of trouble quickly!
Fortunately, my client was able to convey the short-term pain to his employee. Not only did they end up getting the job, but they actually made more profit because they were able to meet the urgency needs their customer had.
A couple things stand out about the story. First, my client was able to guide someone whose primary role is not in sales on the importance of looking at things from the customer's point of view. That's hugely important, because your customers won't always have the same priorities you do.
Second, my client knew enough about how his employee was wired, and he understood the importance of that wiring! If he hadn't spent the time communicating to his employee what the actual best way to help them was, they probably wouldn't have got the job in the first place.
When a prospect or customer is sharing their problem, you do need to carefully diagnose. You should listen to the surface pains they share, and dig for the underlying causes. But when it comes time to prescribe a solution, make sure you put yourself in their shoes as well.
The best solution is not necessarily the right solution for them.