Salespeople often want to talk to me about pricing. I am always quick to tell them that what they first need to focus on is value in the eyes of the customer.
Value and price are not the same thing, but salespeople often allow their customers to think of them as the same thing. When price is the only thing the customer is focused upon, we as salespeople lose. I might add that the customer loses, too!
Value is far more than price. It’s the benefit the customer receives from what we offer.
Want to show value to your customer? Here are 6 ways you can do exactly that:
1. Think outcome! The customer’s outcome.
Keep your customers focused on how they will benefit from what you offer. Show them the results and what it means in terms of their return on investment. This step must begin with the initial sales call and continue all the way through the sales process. In fact, it should extend throughout your relationship with the customer.
Keep in mind that customers don’t buy anything. They only invest. If we believe this – and I do – then every purchase must result in a return in investment. Customers may argue this is why they need a lower price, but when they do this, they are overlooking the real value of outcomes.
For example, if you sell supplies, a customer may initially believe they should just compare your prices to what other companies sell. You need to help them move past this shortsightedness. What matters isn’t merely the cost of the supplies, but the outcome that can be accomplished with them.
Do the supplies you sell allow for the customer to use less labor?
Do the supplies you sell reduce costs or potential expenses in some other area?
Do the supplies create increased customer satisfaction for your customer’s customer?
Each of the above questions can reveal value for the customer that goes far beyond price.
2. Keep track of every phone call, inquiry and contact the customer makes with you and your company.
If you are not keeping track of your encounters with a customer, you are likely missing additional opportunities to show them value. Whether the customer is occasionally asking for tips or information, or if you are actively contacting the customer, you need to record each of these encounters.
More importantly, record the value the customer receives or could receive from what you sell. An example of how this might work would be a customer asking for assistance in getting a piece of equipment to run better. You connect them with one of your support people, who in turn helps them. The cost to you in terms of labor might be $150, but the value to the customer might be $5,000 if it reduced the labor they would have needed to complete the activity the machine is now doing.
Document that value so that you have an on-going list you can leverage with the customer.
3. Show the customer best practices you’ve seen other customers use.
Educate your customers every time you’re with them, and use the information you have to develop new relationships. Become a diligent student of “best practices” in the industry and record in dollars what the value is worth to customers.
4. Benchmark their purchases with other similar customers.
Keep records and monitor trends, and then find ways to share this information with your customers. Not only does this show you’re concerned about their business, but it also allows you to have conversations with the customer that they likely wouldn’t initiate on their own.
Not surprisingly, when you are proactive in having these conversations, you often come across new opportunities to help the customer. Also, the benchmarking you do will allow you to create a “savings worksheet” that shows how much less they’ve spent compared to other similar companies.
5. Provide ongoing educational sessions for the customer.
A customer might be hesitant to initially have you provide additional education, but this is key to establishing value. The cost of the educational session to you is minimal, but just as with the other items listed above, the value the customer receives can be huge. Record each session and the value in terms of what the customer receives from the program.
6. Document the value your supply-chain provides to the customer.
Identify and record those activities your supply-chain does on a regular basis that make it easier for the customer to do business with you. Just as with the other items listed, place a dollar amount on each of the activities from which the customer receives value.
By developing relationships throughout the customer’s organization, you will begin to meet people who will share with you those things they like about working with you and your company. Each one of these encounters has a value associated with it and can provide you significant items that separate you from a competitor.
Value is in the eyes of the customer. The customer doesn’t always readily look in the right direction, so it’s our job to help them see the entire picture.
As important as it is to use these 6 methods with existing customers, they can be just as valuable with prospects. The above techniques often can be exactly what you need to help a prospect embrace that low price should never be the sole criteria for purchasing.
Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter,” is author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price. He is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability. He was named one of the Top 50 Influencers in Sales by Top Sales World. To receive a free weekly sales tip and read his Sales Motivation Blog, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, on Facebook and on Linkedin.