New way of thinking about sales: more value for them!

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Published: January 10,2005

Where is “value” in your sales equation? Where is “value” in your sales presentation? What role does “value” play in building customer loyalty? How does “value” help build solid business relationships? How does value convert selling to buying?

ANSWER: By creating a value proposition that defines value in terms of the customer.

Giving value and adding value are words that many salespeople and sales executives have a difficult time in understanding, let alone providing. Most people think that value is all about something the company adds. Some small additional service, something tacked onto the product, a slight reduction in price, even something “free.” Wrong.
Value is something done for the customer, in favor of the customer. The right value proposition will: engage, gain interest, eliminate price as an objection, eliminate bidding, eliminate competition, and double your sales.

Last week I gave you the first four elements of the 5.5 components of the value proposition. Part one is available on my Web site. The instructions are below.

Here are the rest if the 5.5 value proposition elements:

5. The value that helps your customer produce more, benefit from and/or profit from. The paradox of this element is that it is the most important of the entire value proposition, and almost never employed by the salesperson (that would be you). In most cases, it’s the only thing that your prospective customer is interested in, and in all cases it’s what will create the greatest engagement. There’s an old cliché in sales that goes: “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” That statement is wrong. It should read: “They don’t care how much you know unless they know where the productivity is, where the benefit is, where the risk reduction is, and where the profit is.” In short, they want to know what’s in it for them. They HAVE to perceive value for them. And, in short, if you don’t spell that value out, I guarantee that you will fight a price war. And even if you win the war, you will lose your profit.

NOTE WELL: Because this is the most important element of the entire value proposition, it’s where you must put the most emphasis, and spend the most time.

ACTION STEP: Take a moment right now and write down all the ways your customer produces benefits or profits from your product or service. Just a bunch of bullet points will do. Some of these bullet points may be scattered throughout your sales presentation, and I’m challenging you to put them all in one segment. And there’s a secret here: Make certain that these value points and these profit points are added into any request for proposal bid that your customer may have. This means that your competition will have to prove their value at the same time their trying to figure out how much to cut their price.

CONSIDER THIS: It never ceases to amaze me that salespeople will take a bid request or a proposal request without trying to alter it in any way so that the playing field becomes level. Then they lose the field and complain about price. The more you start out with value, the easier it is to win more sales at a higher price.

5.5 The continuing value after the sale. This is my version of added value. By continuing to provide value, you let the customer know this is a relationship, not a transaction. That this is a partnership, not a vendor/customer process. Continuing value has to do with service, help, updates, upgrades, supplies and critical industry information that continues to help your customer produce, benefit and profit from their relationship or their partnership with you.

BONUS: The value proposition, if used properly, can ELIMINATE competition. The value proposition can set forth things that make you the only choice. If your prospect asks you about a competitor, you respond, “They’re great… if you want second best.” — or — “I don’t know, ask them about their value proposition. If they come back to you with ‘price reduction’ or ‘save you money,’ run the other way.”
Tell your prospect that they should not allow “three bids” or “proposals” UNLESS the competition can match the value proposition that you have provided.

GREAT NEWS: Converting your sales pitch into a value proposition is not easy. That’s the best part. It will represent a change from your normal, boring way of presenting your product or your service. Here’s the great news, it will immediately differentiate you from all the others. It will allow you to rise above your competitors, not wallow in the mud with them. It will give you the opportunity to set the standard, not match the standard.

WHAT IS THE VALUE OF “VALUE?” I promise when you master the value proposition, and use it in your selling process, you will double your sales, keep your profit, generate a long list of loyal customers and confuse the “price-no-value” competition.

What are you doing or giving that benefits your customer? What are you doing that they perceive as valuable to them? Or does everything you do just benefit yourself?
HERE’S THE FORMULA: The more they perceive value, the more they will buy from you.

GitBit: Missed part one? Quit your complaining. Both parts of this article are available at www.gitomer.com — register if you’re a first time visitor — enter VALUE in the GitBit box, and you’ll get the entire lesson.

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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