You’re officially the most knowledgeable salesperson on your team.
So how come the new guy whose only been with your company for five months is outselling you right and left? Perhaps closing the sale isn’t his main mission. Instead, Newbie has a different approach referred to as value-based selling.
According to HubSpot, value-based selling focuses on the potential value the product can provide to the customer, and the salesperson therefore acts as a consultant whose mission is to benefit the customer throughout the entire sales process.
That’s why value-based selling features prominately in sales training programs and also why it’s considered the key to providing great customer service.
The Difference Between Value & Price
While price refers to what someone will pay for a product or service, value is attributed to what the consumer perceives as the benefits they will get from it.
Mentioning how stains aren’t likely to penetrate or set due to a premium fabric’s finish is an example of a value statement. If that quality is important to a potential customer, he or she will buy it.
Some customers—and salespeople—actually equate price with value, believing that getting a low price means it is also a great value. Upon getting their cheap product home, though, they realize that they wasted their money because the product wasn’t worth what they paid for it.
So what distinguishes value from price in a customer’s mind?
“Value will always be personal and different for everyone,” says The Retail Doctor. He gives the example of a father who purchases a security system with extra features hoping it will give him peace of mind when he is traveling away from his family, or a baker who buys premium flour for her rustic breads because she values the results she gets when using it instead of cheaper alternatives.
“That’s why it is so important to look at selling value over price as a truly personalized approach to increase customer service but also profit.”
Today, people are bombarded with print and digital marketing messages pressuring them to buy. Using a value-based selling approach will help you stand out from the competition while you simultaneously create happy, loyal customers.
Here are 7 essential steps in getting value-based selling right:
1. Discover your customer’s needs
Be aware that preconceived notions can influence your interaction with clients. If you make an assumption about your customer’s primary pain point, it may lead you ask questions differently. As a result, you won’t gather the information or insight necessary to determine how the shopper can best use your assistance.
Remember too, that not all pain-points are created equally. Some stem from a wish for a better lifestyle, while others grow out of the need to increase productivity. Try to see things from your customer’s perspective to gain a better understanding of how you can resolve their pain points.
Ask targeted, open-ended questions. Not only are they perfect conversation starters, but they also open the door to more insightful discussion. Consider the differences in the following examples:
- Leading question: “Don’t you love the fabric they used on that sofa? ”
- Open-ended question: “What do you think of the fabric they used on the sofa?”
2. Don’t rush right in to the sales pitch
Sales people often start off on the wrong foot by rushing the all-important early stages of the sales engagement, suggests Inflexion-Point. But it’s important to take the time to explore the customer’s situation thoughtfully.
Give your customer the opportunity to explain their needs and what they are looking for. Not only does this help you build trust, but it also provides you with more insight into how you can best deliver value to the customer, as well as helping you better position your product or service for the sale.
3. Effectively communicate the value of your product
“If your prospect didn’t have a problem they were trying to solve or a need to fulfill, they wouldn’t be in the market for a new product,” says HubSpot.
This opens up a great opportunity for you to help the customer understand why your product is the solution to their problem. But in order to accomplish that, you must understand your product and be able to clearly communicate it’s value.
Whether it’s designed to increase climbing safety or it comes with a month’s worth of free training to help customers quickly master the included features, the benefits of your product or service should be easy-to-understand and relevant to your customer.
Use the unique differentiators of your product or service to guide your sales conversations, suggests HubSpot.
4. Teach, don’t sell
“One of the most effective ways to provide value to your prospects and customers is to help educate them on a topic of interest,” advises HubSpot. “When you take an education-first approach, you become their go-to resource for information which helps you build trust.”
If you sell vacuums, for example, instead of rattling off a recycled sales pitch, ask the customer what his/her top three challenges are. Then walk him/her through possible solutions for solving those challenges in an informative, engaging way.
When the customer is ready to buy, your product will seem more appealing because you demonstrated value instead of pushing the sale without providing proof of value for the buyer.
5. Become a “concierge”
Your role as a sales professional using the value-based approach is to act as a consultant or concierge during the buying process. Just as a hotel concierge would suggest things to see, where to eat, or where to buy particular items, you should share ideas and strategies with your customers that can help them make the most informed purchasing decision.
Let’s say that your customer asks if they should take an action that you typically wouldn’t recommend. You could share a real-life example of how that action did not have the desired result for another customer. In this manner, you help the customer maintain control of the buying decision, while conveying valuable information in an honest, helpful manner.
6. Be personable
Adopt a personable, and conversational tone when engaging with your customers. This will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in them, and that you’re not just paying them lip service to make the sale.
While small talk may not be easy for everyone, with the right attitude, it can actually be fun. Think of these conversations as opportunities to learn more about other people. Actively listen to what your customers are saying. They’ll notice how invested you are in the conversation and you’ll build much stronger connections with them by paying attention. Steer away from questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no”, otherwise your conversation will be harder to maintain.
The goal is to make customers feel as though they’re talking with a trusted advisor. Talk to them as though you’re talking with a friend, making the conversation comfortable and relatable, and you’ll simultaneously build trust in the process.
7. Use every interaction to add value
Every time you engage your customers, be sure to add value. This makes them feel like they’re being heard and supported each time they interact with you.
Whether you take plenty of time to answer their questions or share helpful information that is relevant to their lives—even when you aren’t having a sales conversation—the small things you do to make your customers’ life easier will pay off in the long run.
The next time you see your customer, ask yourself, “How can I provide as much value as possible?” to maintain a relationship of trust, as well as a long-term positive experience.
“Value selling starts with the customer, not the product,” asserts The Retail Doctor. It should be the foundation of all of your sales efforts.
No matter how you look at it, in the end, all those facts you know about a product aren’t going to mean a thing if the consumer doesn’t see the value in owning it.
Establishing the value of your products and educating your customers about that value sets your sales associates up for success because makes it possible for them to assist customers in an authentic way that’s based on their real needs…not how much your product costs.
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