A value based selling approach is intended to help salespeople focus their client conversations around creating product value versus price. This helps to better differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market. Yet, for all the buzz surrounding solution or value selling, many organizations still struggle to execute on it. What’s holding them back? Why is it so difficult to demonstrate the value proposition of their offerings?
The concept of customer value is far from new. Ask any salesperson on the street if they’re providing customer value and they’ll say, “yes, absolutely.” But if you ask what you specifically do that delivers that value, you’ll get a hundred different answers.
When a customer spends time with a salesperson- and come away saying they got value from the discussion- what are they actually getting? Value is not about understanding the history of their firm, getting descriptions of the solutions being proposed, or reviewing case studies and testimonials. Those things are all easily available online without spending time with a salesperson. And we all know that buyers are further along in the buying process and spending less time with the salesperson than ever before.
True value early on comes from insights and a salesperson that helps a customer think differently about their business or problem and asks insightful, provocative questions that peels the layers back and start to honestly examine what their challenges are, what success would or could look like- and in a way the customer may not have uncovered without your help.
BUYING A SOLUTION VS. A PRODUCT
A value based selling process shifts the focus to envisioning the results of the solution rather than the purchase of a product. It bridges the gap between concept and bottom-line results.
Many organizations are realizing solution selling, on its own, isn’t enough to drive the results they need. A value based sales process gives sales teams the system and behavioral alignment to effectively differentiate and demonstrate what the results are of the sale.
This is accomplished with 4 main factors:
- Establishing and maintaining trust
- Shifting mindsets about selling
- Anticipating segmented customer needs and wants
- Creating a framework for operating with integrity
VALUE BASED SELLING CONNECTS WITH CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS
A value based selling process is the foundation for aligning the way salespeople connect with the way customers buy.
EXECUTING ON A VALUE BASED SELLING PROCESS
How do your salespeople identify a product’s value? It should be focused around the problems it solves and not simply the product. When customers can see the value that will come from a result of the purchase, they are more likely to purchase the product.
Top sales performers not only articulate a product’s value, they exceed expectations by consistently engaging in behaviors that demonstrate a solutions mindset. The key is to always be solving customers’ problems in the right way at the appropriate time.
Your organization’s mission, vision, values and leadership must all reinforce the ability to deliver value. Every person across the organization needs to understand their responsibility to create and deliver value.
PERFORMANCE FACTORS THAT DELIVER VALUE FROM THE CUSTOMER’S PERSPECTIVE
Performance factors are the elements needed to build value into your selling process. Developing these four performance factors will give the salespeople the confidence to focus on the value your organization has to offer.
The Right People
Do your people have the required talents and traits to enable value based selling?
The Right Process
Does your sales process provide the necessary skills and tools upon which to build a solid foundation?
The Right Commitment
How aligned are your team’s attitudes, beliefs and values with the requirements of solution selling?
The Right Support
Do you have the leadership and coaching skills and commitment to support the shift to value based selling?
ENABLING A VALUE BASED SALES PROCESS
For customers to perceive you as a partner, your sales team has to maximize the value you create by developing both customer intimacy and trust and differentiated solutions. These customers not only value their trusted relationships, they also feel their wants and needs (often needs they didn’t realize they even had) are being met.
When that happens the customer shifts from ‘satisfied’ to truly loyal- you become a partner of choice, not a vendor of convenience. And they become “Net promoters” of your organization—a key metric correlated with sustained, profitable growth. In order to realize this vision you need to have the following.
The Right PEOPLE to exhibit:
- Integrity and values that create customer trust
- The four traits of sales success: Goal Clarity, Achievement Drive, Emotional Intelligence and Social Skills
The Right PROCESS that utilizes:
- Skills to support a full understanding of delivering customer needs/challenges
- Tools aligned with (and not a barrier to) a solution-selling approach
- Internal systems that are centered around creating customer value
The Right COMMITMENT that is:
- Driven from the top down, focused on customer value and achieving measurable impact
- Consistently demonstrated through everyday attitudes, beliefs and values across the organization
The Right SUPPORT which entails:
- Managers at all levels consistently communicating the organization’s vision
- Managers articulating “what good looks like,” modeling and coaching to new behaviors and skills
- Celebrating and rewarding success as it is earned
The Right VALUE for internal and external customers which requires:
- Employees who direct their energy to the right tasks and outcomes to deliver meaningful value that customers care about
- Developing a culture that supports employee engagement, ensuring employees will go the extra mile to deliver customer value
SUSTAINING YOUR VALUE BASED SELLING PROCESS
For organizations that invest in sales training it’s often a miss when they don’t couple to that coaching or a process to support that learning event organizationally that says “we see potential in what you’re doing. And we want to help you grow in that.” And so sales coaching becomes a critical piece in sustaining that good behavior- and accelerating it- because where your people are today isn’t where they should be 6, 12, 18 months down the road. That’s what the sales coach does…
Interested in going deeper with your customers? We’d be glad to talk about how that can happen and offer insights on what might be missing in your approach and how your salespeople think about delivering customer value.
Partner and CEO
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