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Value: What Your Customers Really Want

Apr 9, 2012 - 10:02 AM
Value: What Your Customers Really Want

I recently came to the realization that I need a new car. While I don’t like the idea of taking on a car payment, the amount of money I’m currently spending on maintenance doesn’t make sense when I could have a new, reliable vehicle. So, with a budget in mind, I started searching on the aggregated car-selling websites. Soon, I realized that my budget was somewhat flexible, based on the value or features of the particular car.

Does this sound familiar in your promotional products business? How many times do you hear, “The customer only cares about the price?” 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 salespeople to sell price.

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today takes a close look at selling value, starting with learning how to create a value proposition that’s different from the competition.

Selling value is more than making statements such as, “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 salespeople and sales leaders. This is no different than a person going on a job interview and telling the interviewer that he or she should be hired because of these qualifications: 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 prospects or clients define 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 he or she will be able to establish their value according to the prospect. Although many salespeople know this belief, very few truly implement it. Too many salespeople flood a prospect with information on what they have to offer without knowing whether or not what they are saying will be valuable 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 salespeople ask questions such as, “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 sales professionals to truly understand the prospect, and not just their service needs so they can ‘sell’ them.

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.

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