Opinion

Creating value in 2012

The sales cycle may be short or long, but in the end a true salesperson closes.

When consumers are evaluating a purchase, they look at several factors—cost, return on investment, ease of use, limitations, perception by others, application and value. How all these work together affects whether someone will buy or pass on the purchase.

Consideration by the buyer of how to assess the overall evaluation often is assisted by the seller. Typically, there may be some homework involved on the part of the one making the decision, and often it’s up to the seller to provide that material. The more expensive and complex the object or service, the more due diligence is required.

If you are the buyer, then your vetting process must be thorough, objective and decisive. If you are the seller, then your sales efforts must be insightful, intelligent and honest. If you and your product are worthy of closing the deal, then there must be true value provided to the buyer. If you cannot relay that message to the one writing the check, then you have effectively not done your job.

The sales cycle may be short or long, but in the end a true salesperson closes. However, if the sale doesn’t happen right away, it may be that the timing is not right or that you have not found the right buyer. Either way, be ready to provide value in your product and in your support of the sale.

Do you find that your prospects are focused on the price of your products and services and often pressure you to give them discounts? You've told your prospects in so much detail about all the great value they will receive but they just don't seem to get it. You know that if only they could see the value in your products and services then price would not be such an issue.

Here are four secrets, according to Tessa Stowe with SalesConversation.com, that if learned and applied, will guarantee that your prospects will see the value in your products and services so that price is no longer the issue. These four secrets are commonsense and obvious once you know them, but in selling, what is commonsense and obvious is rarely applied.

Secret #1: Forget about selling and trying to get your prospect to buy your products and services.

A common trap you don't want to fall into is to start selling your products and services from the very first conversation with your prospect. Instead, you want to forget about selling and trying to get your prospect to buy your products and services. Just have a conversation and ask the right questions so you can understand their problem and determine, if in fact, you can help them. This initial phase is the “Discover Phase,” and it is where you should be spending the majority of your time in the sales process.

Secret #2: Have your prospect tell you the value (instead of you telling them).

If you tell your prospect about the value you offer, they may or may not see this as relevant, of interest or of value. However if you ask the right questions so your prospect tells you the value of solving their problem, they will then see this value as relevant, of interest and of value. The big difference is that they have told you (and themselves) the value as opposed to you trying to tell them.

Secret Number #3: Have valuable conversations.

The conversations you want to have with your prospect should include so much value that they actually thank you for speaking with them and, in fact, look forward to having more conversations with you. How do you have such conversations? It's easy really. You see probably no one has asked your prospect powerful questions which help them get clarity around their problem and what it is costing them. This sort of clarity and information is of great value to your prospect. They will see that you have a valuable skill and they will want to have future conversations with you to continue gaining clarity in other areas. They will see having conversations and having a relationship with you as valuable.

Secret #4: Add your value to their value.

Once your prospect has told you the value they will receive from solving their problem, they will be receptive to listening to how you can add even more value. Not only will they be receptive to listening to how you can add more value, but they will also be appreciative of the additional value you can add. This is because, at this stage, they will have effectively sold themselves on taking action to solve the problem and the more value they can see that they will receive, the easier it is for them to justify buying your products and services.

In summary, as a consequence of not selling while you ask the right questions, your prospect will see both the value in solving their problem and in having a relationship with you. You are then in a position to help them justify a buying decision by adding more value to what they have told themselves. This all leads to a decision based on value and not on price.

Value can be perceived or real. By offering real value, you provide a solution to a problem. When your client asks why your gizmo is better than your competition, be ready with a response that answers the question in your favor. Knowledge is powerful, but wisdom is greater and is the practical application of what you know. Selling is an age-old craft, and lots of people are out there in the sales world. But bringing water to the desert lifts you out of the sand and into the oasis. The value is not in the water, but in how to provide it that makes you better than everyone else. The value of satisfying thirst is a lesson well learned. Be the best at it.

 

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