Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Sales Precepts Based on Value," focuses on increasing sales results based on value-driven ideologies. Prospects and customers are under attack. These messaging attacks come in the form of emails, social media posts, and other digital offerings that make decisions challenging to navigate.
Meanwhile, sales organizations and sales reps are tied to the sword of Damocles, often based on a single determining factor, while zigzagging between a job, an elusive quota, and the outcome, if quotas are not met. Before we begin...
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It is the salesperson's responsibility to close sales opportunities. However, selling for the sake of reaching quotas should not be the driving force behind the sales technique.
In a customer-centric universe, it is evident that the needs and desires of customers should dictate the sales process. In short, customers and prospects mindset echoes Janet Jackson's famous lyric, "What have you done for me lately?" From where we stand, the question to ask the sales rep whom the prospect has never met, "What can you do for me, now and in the future?" To answer that question, we must define value-based selling.
What is Value-Based Selling
Value-Based sales concepts are focused on supplying customers with benefits that help them and make their lives easier to manage. The entire sales process should take on a consulting role, whereby the value of the product is made clear to the customer, including the potential benefit(s) the product or service can deliver. The following three points are critical to achieving a value-based sales approach:
Always put the needs of the prospect/customer first
Guide prospects through the sales process
Match the product that will best fulfill their needs
Provide More Value
Anytime an organization can provide more value than its competitors, that organization has the opportunity to not only close sales but also raise the likelihood of creating long-term customer relationships, central to reducing churn.
Sales Precept #1 - Do the Homework
The biggest mistake a sales rep can make is to secure an appointment and then show up without knowing or understanding the prospect's company, industry, or competitors. Failure to do this homework is a trifecta mistake. One, you cannot ascertain the company's needs. Two, you have no idea how the company performs in the industry or compares to its competitors. Three, you may fail to grasp the myriad of ways your organization can help solve a prospect's pain points.
Researching the industry and the prospect's business model is the first sales precept that will aid in establishing a value-based sales proposition. Evaluate your research points and ensure they include the following:
The prospect's current role in the company, how long in the current position, and previous job experience. If the prospect is new to the role, he or she may be in a learning state. How long have they been in a purchasing decision role? Are there other people that have a role in the sales process? Knowing the answers to these questions will significantly enhance the sales reps' perspective about the prospect and determine if the prospect requires learning from the sales rep. A quick visit to the LinkedIn profile can help with this research.
Understand what is important. A quick perusal of the industry, organization, and possibly the prospect's social media pages may provide insight as to current issues and news.
The company's communication footprint can yield invaluable information. Review their social media pages, website, press releases, broadcast, and online ads to uncover recent developments, new product launches, recalls, and changes in the leadership.
CRM contacts. Check for any contacts within your organization that has had recent communication with the prospect. It may shed light on previous engagements and expose any dialogue that may help determine the way forward.
The industry landscape is vital. Be sure to understand the prospect's competitors. How they are doing, which competitors are leading the industry, and what drives and supports the top tier competitors.
Sales Precept #2 Sales Pitch Timing
An important point to consider in a customer-centric universe is that 'customers sell to themselves.' The information a prospect receives is most often the trigger that propels the person to move to the purchasing mode. Once a value proposition is made, it is wise to revisit what the prospect is looking for most.
At this stage, you should encourage the prospect to provide any information that can cement the current status or state how their situation can evolve. Either way, this dialogue can help pinpoint the product or solution that would be the best offering to solve the prospect's challenge(s).
Sales Precept #3 Be the Consultant
Sales conversions happen when the prospect receives the complete information he/she needs to make a purchasing decision. Consultants tend to advise and not make decisions for others. When operating from a consultancy perspective, opportunities arise to consider new ideas, solutions, and strategies.
The consultancy role provides opportunities to add value while prospects can re-position their competitive advantage. In addition, the consultancy approach can offer examples of successes and failures, which can help construct roadmaps that point the way forward. Consultations and the outcomes can be invaluable, especially in the context of providing a prospective buyer with a path towards success, thereby offering a road that minimizes setbacks and unforeseen consequences.
Sales Precept #4 Be the Teacher
Customers and prospects have a propensity to value those who continuously educate them. If done correctly, those customers and prospects will hold that sales rep in high regard, thus anointing the sales rep as a go-to resource.
Believe it or not, and regardless of whether the sales rep closes the deal or not, the teaching approach is where real trust can be built. Among all other considerations, trust is the most powerful entity that propels prospective buyers to say yes. This is also the area where a sales rep can introduce new ideas and solutions with the surety that those ideas come from a trusted source.
Sales Precept #5 Small Talk In the Big City
The conversational approach is a hallmark of value-based sales methodology. Prospects are keenly aware when a sales rep is talking at them versus talking with them. Conversational inclusion strategies are best when small talk is a part of the communications strategy. There are three areas to consider to keep the conversation more personal. This behavior shows that the rep cares about the prospect's business, opportunities, and challenges.
Speaking to a friend - Speaking to a friend is the most personal form of communication, and with prospects, this tone generates a value proposition based on trust, as in a trusted advisor.
Open-ended questions - Avoid asking questions that allow for yes or no answers. Instead, ask questions that are focused on getting to know them more personally. Typically open-ended questions generate a more extensive explanation.
The Small Talk - The art of small talk is a powerful instrument for trust-building. Small talk is the type of conversational approach that asks, for example, what upcoming events are you looking at attending? Or, what other professional interests are you pursuing? Or, what new responsibilities are you looking to take on? In short, any go-to topic of interest to the prospect is a good choice.
Sales Precept #6 Keep Adding Value
As a sales rep continues the buyer sales journey, or sales funnel, it is critical to continue to add a value statement every time the rep is speaking to the prospect.
This idea of adding value in each subsequent conversation with the buyer goes a long way towards the prospect being heard, understood, and supported at each stage of the communication.
Differentiate your sales strategy from the competition by selling value to customers and prospects. As you sell value, that precept will endear most prospects and customers that you care about them and their company's success.
The value proposition establishes a bar that every other competitor will have to meet to engage competitively. Lastly, if you continuously provide value propositions to prospects and customers, your trust value will skyrocket. In the age of social media sharing, it's highly likely that you will get referrals, as trusted prospects turned customers often become brand ambassadors. Happy Holidays and thanks for reading "Sales Precepts Based on Value."
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