define: Value

Sitting in on sales calls I hear the word ‘value’ being volleyed back and forth between the salesperson and prospect often wondering what each other thinks the definition is and if it applies here. I understand the pressure of the salesperson making their quota and the fears the prospect has of making the wrong decision. Often it can be compared to a pitcher-batter relationship with 3 balls and 2 strikes of a full count on the scoreboard and the weight of a possible win or definite loss wagered on the next pitch. If you can relate to this situation and want to remove the buying/selling pressure and make the experience a little more enjoyable for both parties involved, here are a few thoughts to consider.

Relationship versus a Transaction

In most cases timing is everything in a purchase. If you don’t need tires, you’re probably not shopping for them now. However when you do, you will either look for the cheapest price or a trusted source when making the purchase. Buying on the cheapest price can often be an unemotional transaction. But when you buy from a trusted source based on an existing relationship it is an enjoyable experience for the prospect. Plus the outcome for the salesperson is repeat business, referrals, and often not having to treat your product like a commodity to make a sale.

Salespeople need to be committed to spending most of their time keeping their pipeline filled with leads and maintaining relationships with qualified prospects. Too often company leadership has their salespeople selling and maintaining accounts. As more prospects become clients and more time is spent on servicing them, the pipeline of new leads will start to dry up. And over time as the salesperson becomes more comfortable not prospecting, and client attrition occurs, revenues will start to decrease.

Understand long term growth plans of your prospect

Know where your prospect is and where they want to go. As you cover your networking beat, stay up-to-date on discussion groups, industry newsfeeds, business publications; look and listen for tips and ideas that can help your prospects grow their business – whether it has a direct benefit to you or not. As you share information with them directly, they will volunteer more information about their plans, allowing you to gain greater insight of your prospects business, along with respect and rapport from your decision maker. This will make it difficult for the competition to know what is best for your prospect while you maintain the trusted source position.

Included what is not needed

Since you know more about your prospects business and what is best for them, you also know what is not needed. Most of what defines an item is what is not present. By showing the prospect what they don’t need (at this time, based on the information you have) you are saving them money. And because you have rapport with them, you are reducing their fears. Companies will overbuy to reduce risk and possible embarrassment. Your involvement will reduce the risk and capital expenditures on unnecessary products and services. Plus telling them what they don’t need will also lower their guard, causing them to think you are not just trying to push product on them. Don’t be surprised when they confidently tell your competition they don’t need ‘that’ based on your advice.

Offer counsel on implementation

You have been keeping up with market trends and industry news, and because of that you can help assist beyond just knowing your product. You can help on the integration of your product or service with their existing system and help the end users with the overall process. The goal is to be the person they call on for all related questions. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but maintaining communication is easier than trying to start it.

Understand what is of value

This is a perceived reality that can only be defined by the prospect, but can be controlled by you, the salesperson. Go the extra mile, stay in touch, and ask a lot of questions. Remember it is not about you, it is about them and they will buy based on their reasons and not yours. With that, they will define you as value to them.

 

 

Comments

  1. Sue Filbin says

    Scott, This post reveals a lot about your values, i.e., putting people’s real needs & your relationship with them ahead of making a sale. Very inspiring. Thank you.

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