Those of us in the space who write a lot tend to write about what’s current, what we care about, where we see things trending, and what we specialize in. Those topics aren’t always the same as what you need to be reading.
It’s the same with most of the companies that we help. They often call or write asking for help with things like, prospecting, closing, social selling, consultative selling or messaging. When I begin talking with people from the company, and certainly, after training begins, one fact always seems to emerge. The one thing every company seems to be seeking, but unable to articulate, is that they must get a lot better at selling value.
There are at least six ways in which companies routinely fumble their attempts to shift to a value selling culture:
- Strategic – when companies either lack or fail to articulate a clear, no exception policy to selling value and as a result make exceptions on a case by case basis to discount the price in order to win the business. This sets precedent, and tells salespeople, sales managers and customers that despite what we say about value, we will meet or beat our competitors’ pricing.
- Tactical – when salespeople quote prices too early. Quoting prices and selling value can not coexist!
- Process – when companies fail to create a formal, customized, milestone-centric sales process that supports selling value, properly introduce it, and demand that everyone follows it. Key milestones that are required to build the value get skipped or handled out of sequence and value is not established.
- Methodology – when companies don’t have a consultative methodology that supports a conversational approach to identify the particular things for which a customer would pay a premium. Lacking an effective methodology also serves to make them unable to differentiate in the field, where buyers make their decisions. If you can’t differentiate, you can’t sell value.
- Salespeople – when companies ask salespeople who lack the Sales DNA required for selling value to try and sell value anyway.
- Sales Management – when sales management is unable to effectively provide situational coaching to salespeople on how to sell value.
Salespeople who have relied heavily on talking about capabilities, value propositions, applications, demos, specifications, prices, company stories, presentations, and proposals must change. Completely. If they don’t, at best they will struggle to win business at an even more alarming rate. At worst, they will become obsolete within three years
Selling value in a way that will actually get consistent results requires a completely different approach from simply being able to talk about what your value is. Today, salespeople must provide the entirety of the value themselves and if they can’t, their customers and prospects will have no use for them. Prospects can do a Google search and have most of what salespeople traditionally talk about at their fingertips in less than five minutes. Salespeople must get better at identifying something else to talk about or they not only won’t be needed in their sales calls, they won’t get or keep the business either.