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What your customers really want is value


April 5, 2012
By Nathan Jamail

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Apr. 5, 2012 — How many times do you hear, “The customer only cares
about the price?” Most companies will say they hear it all the time, but
price is only an issue when it is presented as the only benefit (or
primary benefit).

Regardless of industry, product and economy, a company does not need
professional sales people to sell price. For that, all they need is a
website or catalogue and a payment processor. 

If a sales organization wants to increase sales and margin, they need to
teach the sales team how to establish real value. Once the sales teams
are taught this, they need to practice doing it over and over again. The
difference between an amateur and a professional is a professional
practices their skills; they don’t just play the game or go on sales
calls assuming the sales call is their “practice.” The key to overcoming
price is not a scripted catchy phrase, rather it is learning how to
create a real value partnership and in order to do that, one must
practice. 

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Stop selling value like everyone else:

  • Selling value is more than making statements like, “We offer great
    customer service,” “We have experience and expertise,” or “Our people
    make the difference.” When asked about the value offered, these are the
    most common answers given from sales people and sales leaders. This is
    no different than a person going on a job interview and telling the
    interviewer that they should hire them because they are a self-starter,
    team player, people person, motivated and loyal. All of these answers
    are generic and do not differentiate you from the next person.
  • Value is determined by the prospect. “What value do you add?” is a
    trick question because it can only be answered after the sales
    professional understands what the prospect or client defines what they
    believe is value. To determine what the customer perceives as value, a
    sales professional must ask the prospective customer purposeful
    questions and ask a lot of them. The more the sales professional learns
    and understands, the more likely they will be able to establish their
    value according to the prospect.  Although many sales people know this,
    very few truly implement it. Too many sales people flood a prospect with
    information on what they have to offer without knowing whether or not
    what they are saying will be a value to a client or prospect. It cannot
    be stressed enough-ask questions first before explaining the value you
    bring!
  • Asking questions is more than just asking open-ended or leading
    questions. Most sales people ask questions like, “Would it be a benefit
    to you if we could give you more of this for less money?” In most cases
    it is a rhetorical question that the customer has no choice but to
    respond to with a “yes.” That is like asking a child if they’d like to
    have more candy, play all day and not do homework. Asking purposeful
    questions allows the sales professional to truly understand the
    prospect, and not just their service needs so they can “sell” them. 

Here are three easy steps to make sure you’re able to sell on true value and not price.

  1. Write down your questions and take them with you. This does not
    make a sales person less of a professional or less of an expert. In fact
    this will allow you to show a client or prospect how important it is to
    fully understand their needs and desires. In order to do this
    correctly, the order of your questions is important as well. Start your
    questions wide: industry-company-person-current vendor and then finally
    about the product or service.
  2. Help the prospective client understand what makes you and your
    company successful. A partnership is a two way street, so remember the
    sales professional is responsible for both ways. This means a sales
    professional shares with the prospective client what makes them
    successful without making it difficult or inconvenient for a prospective
    client and shows the why and value for both sides.
  3. Practice your sales calls every day before you go on them rather
    than simply talking about the appointment afterwards and call it
    practice. Practice, practice, practice.

This goes for all sales leaders and sales professionals. If the sales
leader does not mandate ongoing practice and get involved themselves,
then it will never happen. This is just like a professional sports team
that will not practice if the coach does not require it and work on the
field with the team. 

If the prospect cannot truly afford the product or service the sales
professional is offering, do not lower the price and the perceived
value. Instead, find a new prospect. By admitting that your product is
not a fit, you will gain more clients long term than force feeding a
product or service and losing value along the way.

Every customer wants the most for the lowest price. This is not a bad
thing once a sales professional learns how to help the prospect
understand they really want success for the best price. 

Success cannot be provided by just a vendor, rather it can only be
provided by a true partner. Sales professionals need to prepare and
practice so the next time the prospective client says, “I want the
cheapest price,” they are confident and ready to take control of the
sales call and never sell (or lose) on price again.  

Nathan Jamail, author of “The Playbook Series,” is a motivational
speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach. As a former executive for
Fortune 500 companies, and owner of several small businesses, he travels
the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum
success. To book Nathan, visit www.NathanJamail.com or contact 972-377-0030.


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