Earlier this week a colleague posed the question -‘How do you define value beyond product buzzwords? I see so many organizations that claim to sell value – but all they do is product pitch while repeating the word ‘value.'”
What a great question to dig into. In order to be successful they need to build value – value leads to customer acquisition and retention. But simply using the word value to describe features is just product pitching 2.0. Clients see through this:
Example: The value here is that we have an Outlook Plugin
- Why is that valuable? Value goes beyond the surface and quantifies their need and business outcome with how your product provides that ROI
- Value selling is about connection and demonstrating an understanding of HOW your solution resolves their problem and provides a need/payoff
- Example: The value is that the Outlook Plugin provides the encrypted and compliant email you need for healthcare records. This saves you three hours a week because without this solution you are having to upload that information to flash drives/CDs and take it to the post office. You will set a cost savings of $100 a week in shipping/material costs while also being able to repurpose that available time into billable hours.
- Framework: The value is that our product can help you achieve _ and _ business outcome and net + ROI. This is quantifiable and tangible value – as a consultant you speak to that value specific to their needs but also as a consultant to who has expertise in their industry and has seen the positive value added at similar organizations (tell a story – use your experience)
- Example: I worked with a large regional hospital last year that was in a similar situation to your current workflow -everything was paper based and they’d scan the data into their server then burn CDs to send to other practices. They would snail mail records. We were able to do a case study on their use of the Outlook Plugin and they were able to cut ten hours a week of paper processing via emailing records. They cut their shredding and paper/ink fees by 75%. The staff was able to use the additional ten hours per week to have more meaningful interactions with patients and also add 2 additional appointments per day – which not only benefited the patient but helped drive revenue to the hospital/practice
- Value selling is demonstrating the true impact of how transitioning to a new system/set-up can improve a business. While you might feel like you are selling ‘the art of the possible’ – value selling provides a framework for the client on HOW they can turn the possible into a productive reality.
In theory once you have created value – showing ROI and impact that the client will sell themselves on the solution because the pain of doing nothing is far more expensive (time, effort, cost) than investing in your solution.
And while this does happen, even the best value sellers get objections – because as rational and scientific as you can break down value – at the end of the day people are emotional buyers. They have a pendulum of ‘rational’ and ’emotion’
So value selling also must also attach itself to the emotional value of the client needs and expectations – which is hard.
Emotional value needs to be established with The WHY (Focus on How) in the Discovery Stage – understanding the whole picture behind ‘Why’ change matters to them – what their motivations and concerns are will empower you to provide value to their unique emotional and business needs.
Value is established from the research you do in discovery. To truly sell value – you need to constantly listen to understand and provide expertise as an industry consultant who can empower the client to purchase the technology they need. Value selling demands recommending the best options and partnering in that conversation with the client. You are not trying to convince them in the sleazy sales way – but rather inform and advise from a place of understanding and expertise.
Value selling is not about PRICE negotiation – granted pricing and budget negotiation is part of even the best sales cycle – but you will never truly win a deal if you focus on the ‘Value of Price’
Value selling has nothing to do with the cost of a solution – the price tag? That seems counterintuitive, but it is an essential fact in technology sales.
When shopping at the mall (or online in this modern era) shoppers often gauge the price and how much they will use the item. However…ask yourself this – how many times have you gone into a store (let’s say Target) and you need new towels – but you see a new gadget. You rationally know you need to purchase towels, but your emotions kick in and suddenly you are thinking about want versus need. The value of want is at play. Buyers start arguing on ‘why’ they can purchase something that isn’t really what they need because the want exists.
Your clients will come in with the same mindset with technology sales – you need to establish their needs, budget and requirements – but also tie those qualifications to the ‘feeling’ aspect.
What do they need and what do they want and WHY? How does achieving those outcomes make them feel? That is an extra layer of value selling that can set you apart and truly meet the customer at the crossroads of ‘want and need’ to empower them to make the best business decision.
Ex: Their have a compliance requirement which you address, but the idea of spending money on that solution gives the owner a headache because the staff really wants a new and improved breakroom. Without compliance they could go under – but he wants to remodel the breakroom.
By displaying how the encrypted email can help with compliance, but also save time and reduce cost – you can then tie that value to using the ROI and savings to be applied to other business initiatives like the breakroom.
How do you sell value?
Personally my main goal in every interaction is to truly connect and understand my clients needs/wants and how we can build a bridge to a better future state. Value really starts in listening to understand in discovery, creative selling (thinking outside the box) and demonstrating that value with actionable steps.
Thanks for reading and look forward to hearing from you. Please share and connect with me on LinkedIn