A prospect who sells industrial products to power plants recently told me that his sales people were really good at selling features and benefits, but not so good at selling value. So, when a sales manager urges a salesperson to “sell value, not price” what does he or she really mean?
The value of what you sell is determined by each customer and their business needs, not by your company’s sales person. So, your value will change from one customer to the next – depending on the perceived significance of the need(s) by the customer.
Value not understood by the customer is not paid for. A salesperson’s job, through effective questioning skills, is to identify and develop customer needs – so as to create greater value inside the customer’s head. When a customer doesn’t appreciate the value your products or services provide, they will quite logically default to price. Or worse, they will just go away.
The decision-maker that your salespeople are calling on can be a crucial factor in selling value. Often, salespeople will choose the path of least resistance. The critical question here is: Which decision maker is most adversely affected by not having the benefits of our/your solution?
In the case of the industrial products company, salespeople were calling on facilities maintenance personnel and support people, these are cost-conscious support personnel responsible for fixing existing problems and maintaining operational efficiency. That’s not where the industrial product company’s value has the most customer value.
But the value of my prospect’s product was not best recognized, nor appreciated, by maintenance personnel. The industrial products company’s product makes all the other products in the manufacturing process perform at a higher production level. And these concerns – overall production and output – were primary in the mind of the production manager, not maintenance personnel.
“Sell value, not price” means selling to the right decision-makers, decision-makers who value your product or service.