Early in my sales coaching career I was shocked to see so many sales professionals never attempt to sell based on value. Sure they may have used words like “value” but they never went looking for it!
Instead, I saw sales professionals approach sales like a game to be won.
It was all about opening lines, knocking down objections, and “silver bullet” closers that customers couldn’t resist.
You may have met a few of these sales professionals in your life (they usually leave a lasting impression, and not a good one).
When I saw sales professionals try and talk about value, they would try and Tell customers what to value or Guess at what they might find valuable.
But they could never Discover where value truly resides because they were looking in the wrong places.
Value Doesn’t Reside in What You Sell
The most common mistake I see is believing “the thing” you are selling is the home of value.
That is why sales professionals spend so much time going deep into the weeds talking about their product or service.
You can hear the Sales Manager telling them…
Master product knowledge! Know your competition’s products! And exploit their weaknesses!
I’ve witnessed plenty of sales meetings where the air was filled with detailed technical explanations of why their engineering is so superior – only to watch clients’ eyes glaze over and start checking their phones.
Which always reminds me of two prisoners trapped in a cell; one digging a tunnel to escape with all their might (sales person), while the other impatiently waits for their time to be served (the customer).
And when all else has failed, I watch the sales person resort to haggling on price in an attempt to just “get a sale”.
But the sale was dead. Because any price is too high when you believe value resides in “the thing” you sell.
Value Doesn’t Reside in What You Can See
Some sales professionals take a slightly better approach. They focus on the customer, or at least they try.
I see these sales professionals create customer types or profiles. Then the sales team memorizes them so they can “read” their customers based on what they see in front of them.
They are making snap judgements or assumptions based on personality types, organizational titles, and perceived influence on buying decisions.
And they call this discovering value. But really all they have discovered is how to adjust their communication strategy to connect with a personality type.
I grant you knowing how to adjust your communication strategy is an important skill in sales.
But don’t confuse it with discovering value. The White Hot Core of Value that makes your offering irresistible to your customer.
So where does value reside?
Value Only Resides Below the Surface
You can only Discover value.
You will never be able find value by talking about “the thing” you sell. You will never be able to find value based on what you see in your customer. It must be discovered.
Your customer, client, or buyer is like an Iceberg – more is hidden below the surface than what you see above the surface.
And if you take time to discover what is below the surface, you will find where value truly resides.
The White Hot Core of Value that your customer will pay for, risk capital for, and that moves you from vendor to business partner.
If you are looking on the surface for value, you are looking in the wrong places.
It’s your job to go below the waterline and discover the value that will advance the sale, your customer relationship, and your business.