In the first of a series of article Brian Conway, Programme Director at Channel Sales Mastery examines how the rules of ‘Value Selling’ have changed and how you can use this shift to generate an unstoppable flood of new business!
Value Selling requires a new set of sales activities for your prospects and customers. No longer can we just look at creating Value from our products or services months or years after the deal is done. To get the order in the first place, you’ve got to be adding value way before a PO is raised and a vendor selected.
This article explains this paradigm shift in selling and explains what you need to start doing today if you want to dominate your market tomorrow.
Everybody is familiar with the concept of selling value, the process of creating value for your customers from the product or service that you sell. However the world of sales, the world of business, and therefore the world of value has changed.
Value selling is different today. Sales people need to adopt a new approach to creating value for their clients. An approach where the value isn’t realised after the sale. To truly differentiate yourself as a salesperson and to truly differentiate your business i.e. the company you represent, value needs to be created long before the contract is signed or the purchase order is raised.
So what is the reason for this change in Value Selling?
The business world within which we operate today has evolved. More and more technology is becoming commoditised, and buyers are finding it harder and harder to differentiate between different vendors. This is especially the case when many technology companies in the marketplace are not actual manufacturers but are channel partners of the large technology giants like Cisco and Avaya and are therefore selling the same technological solutions.
This approach to value selling isn’t an alternative, it’s an addition to the current consultative way business to business salespeople should be selling already. Business to business selling and value creation has always been about finding the business needs for your prospective customer, then aligning your products and solutions, as a means of addressing that business need and creating measurable business value. The value that you identify is usually measured in things like cost reductions, productivity improvements, process re-engineering.
You have got to change!
In business today, before you even get the opportunity to do the consultative sell, to find the opportunity, to create value from your products, you have got to make yourself stand out from the crowd. The role of the ‘Trusted Advisor’ is becoming more and more important. If you achieve this status, buyers will turn to you for advice on what to buy, thus putting you at the front of the queue when they then come to actually make an investment.
How do you achieve this Trusted Advisor status?
To achieve this status, you need to be creating value irrespective of any current sales opportunity. You need to be using your expertise, your experience of the industry, and your understanding of your products and their application to business, to provide value to your prospective clients all the time, not just when there’s a sales opportunity on the table.
Trust can’t be built when there are strings attached, so if you’re hoping to do this when your primary motivation is for you prospect to give you business, it doesn’t work.
You need to be offering ‘Industry Perspective’.
You need to be commenting on your industry, advising on what’s moving and shaking. You should be talking about what are the latest technologies that are up and coming. You should be providing case studies and examples of where people have used similar technologies and realised value from them. You should be talking about the competitive landscape. Perhaps you could be advising on what products, services or technologies are becoming obsolete, therefore forewarning your customers and prospects on what upgrades they might need to start planning for; all advisory conditions, not sales.
The bottom line is that you should be offering a perspective as an industry expert on everything about your industry and it’s relation to your customer’s business and their industry.
Start by setting some time aside on a regular basis to send your prospects, your clients and even your old customers, ‘valuable’ information about your industry. Once you are seen to be offering value, you can then intersperse this with information or offers about your business to which your prospects will be more open, because of the previous value you have provided.
In summary, the new World of Value Selling, is about selling your value
first, but without monetary gain. We know this works as we do it to build our sales pipeline and we’ve done it for many of our customers. If done consistently, it’s one of the best ways to create a flood of sales leads. Suddenly prospects start coming to you and you’ve got a systemised lead generation machine.