Many in sales are quick to talk about price, but slow to focus on creating value. But helping your customer understand how your offering creates value is absolutely fundamental to your success as an organization. In my experience, most discussions with potential customers rarely focus on the value created.
What is Value?
The value that your customer seeks comes from their perception of the worth of your product or service. Can you articulate your offering’s worth in terms of the value it will create for your buying customer? The benefits of your offering should include your advantages in quality, reliability, customer service, productivity improvements, etc. These factors, and more, all combine to create value for your customer. Let’s dig deep, do our homework, and understand how we really create value for our customers.
How can we begin to determine and establish value for our customers?
The 3 Steps to Communicating Value
1. Discover What Value Your Customer Wants
First, we must determine what results your customer wants from utilizing your product or service. In fact, this should be your primary focus during your sales discussions. How can you help them achieve success and what does success look like? How can you help them solve their challenges? This is a much different discussion than just price, is it not? Show your customer in real terms what investing in your offering means in the way of a return on that investment. Work with them to discover what value they are really seeking.
For example, if you sell software, maybe a strong value proposition you offer are the productivity improvements your product creates. If your customer wastes hours and hours on manual and inefficient processes, I suggest you define the value you will create through improved efficiency.
2. Quantify Your Value
Next, work to quantify the return on investment you will create for your customers. This will take some willingness from your customer to share information with you, but I have found most customers are willing to have that discussion.
In my software example above, you could determine how many labor hours are potentially wasted on manual efforts and the cost of that labor expense. Then quantify the savings your product will create over a determined period of time. Compare that savings, and all your other benefits, to the cost of your product. There should be a very clear “value proposition” by investing in your product that creates a substantial return. If there is not a strong value created, don’t expect your prospect to be excited about your offering.
3. Continuously Communicate Your Value
Define and discuss value creation early in all of your encounters with prospects. This means you should spend a fair amount of time questioning your prospects to understand what they want to solve or achieve and how together, you will achieve success. Ask for the data you need to show them your strong value proposition.
Back to my software example. After an initial discovery meeting with a prospect, I would advise the sales lead to follow up quickly with a “value proposition worksheet” after the very first sales meeting. Ask the prospect for input and validation on that worksheet. One of the outstanding benefits of this worksheet may be that you help your prospect receive funding approval for the software. This could be due to the fact that he or she has such a strong value equation to present to their management!
And, we also advise the inclusion of your value proposition in any quotes and proposals, along with strong proof that your organization achieves its promises.
Creating Value is Not a Checklist Item
In most sales training and methodologies, creating a value proposition statement is discussed. But many sales folks treat it like a checklist item or a quick statement to rattle off to the prospect. In fact, it’s your reason for existence as a company. Creating value is everything. Learn how to focus discussions with your prospects on the creation of value and watch what happens to your results.
If you’d like to see our example value proposition worksheet, feel free to reach out let me know.