Show me the value, or I’ll show you the door

by

Published: January 3,2005

How do you make a sales presentation?

No, I don’t mean warm-up, probe, present, overcome objections, close. I mean what’s the big picture of your sales presentation? What’s the content of your sales presentation? And most important — how are you certain that you engage your prospect in your presentation? What makes your sales presentation different AND compelling?

CONSIDER THIS: In order to engage your prospect or your probable purchaser or even your customer, there must be some form of interest or perceived value on their part. If there’s no interest or perceived value, there’s no engagement.

There are many obvious customer-based values: They need it, you have it in stock, or no one else has it in stock. But that’s too easy. And that situation hardly ever exists.

CONSIDER THIS: If you had a customer-based value proposition every time you went into a sales call, and that value proposition had REAL VALUE for the customer, it would give you a consistent approach, consistent engagement and a consistent competitive advantage that takes price off the table as an issue. If you do it right, it can even eliminate or level the playing field of three bids.

Most companies have created the mythical term added value. It’s a term that I have never understood. It usually is a bunch of gibberish containing very little value, and if I asked you to describe what added value is, or define what added value is, you probably couldn’t.

WHAT IS A VALUE PROPOSITION? Let me define each element. Once this value proposition is broken down, you will clearly see how your sales presentation needs to be restructured so the customer will know what’s in it for him or her.
And oh, by the way, if you’re using a “system of selling” and you’re not comfortable with it, this may be an alternative to win the sale without any manipulation whatsoever.

The value proposition is broken into 5.5 strategic parts. Each part stands alone, but each part is critical to the other because they build momentum, reduce perceived risk, and ultimately create a buying atmosphere.

Here are the components:

1. The value that your company provides. This is an opportunity for you to talk about your company in terms of what they stand for, how they partner, how they have produced for others, and how they serve others. It’s a chance to talk about capability and loyalty without mentioning the words integrity or ethics. (In my opinion, if you have to say those words, you probably are just the opposite.)

2. The value your product or service provides. The best way to present product value is through the technique known as “similar situations.” This gives you the opportunity to talk about how your product or service has performed successfully in other environments. Be aware that it’s not yet time to use testimonials. An example of a similar situation is telling a story about other successful users. Testimonials can be used at the end of your presentation to close the deal.

3. The value that you (the salesperson) provide. If you understand that the first sale is about you, the salesperson (the first sale that’s made is you), then you can understand the impact that this piece of the value proposition can play. If you bring no value to the table, your price will dominate the discussion and the outcome. Your value includes industry knowledge, product knowledge, customer knowledge, desire to serve, timeliness and an overall understanding of how your customer can best utilize your product or service for his or her benefit. You have to go beyond salesperson to consultant. You have to go beyond salesperson to business friend. You have to go beyond salesperson to being a resource. By combining those three elements — consultant, resource, friend — you achieve the most coveted business position possible: you become a trusted advisor.

4. The value in a short-term incentive. Everyone wants to feel like they get a “deal” when they buy something. Every infomercial on television ends the sales presentation with some form of “Ginsu knife” or “buy two for the price of one.” Short-term incentives are designed to create a greater sense of buyer urgency. In your case, it may be six months of free service, a starter kit of supplies, a factory rebate, an added piece of equipment at a reduced cost, or something that enhances your offer on a one-time basis to get that customer to buy now. The danger in any short-term incentive is that the customer will want it again. Your job as master salesperson is to make certain that you have spent enough time communicating the fact that this is one-time-only.

Well, I’m out of space for this week, but not out of value. The rest will appear next week. PLEASE tear this out and save it for part two. I promise you that the value will be there.

GitBit: Want the list of 5.5 value proposition elements? Go to www.gitomer.com — register if you’re a first time visitor — enter VALUE in the GitBit box, and you’ll get the list.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
salesman@gitomer.com.

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