Show Me The Value, Or I’ll Show You the Door

By Jeffrey Gitomer

And ‘value’ is a many-faceted concept.

How do you make a sales presentation? No, I don’t mean warm up, probe, present, overcome objections or close. I mean what’s the big picture of your sales presentation? What’s the content of your sales presentation? And most important, how are you certain that you engage your prospect in your presentation? What makes your sales presentation different AND compelling?

Consider this: In order to engage your prospect, or your probable purchaser, or even your customer, there must be some form of interest or perceived value on their part. If there’s no interest or perceived value, there’s no engagement.

There are many obvious customer-based values. For example, they need what you’re selling, you have it in stock, or no one else has it in stock. But that’s too easy. And that situation hardly ever exists.

Now consider this: If you had a customer-based value proposition every time you went into a sales call, and that value proposition had REAL VALUE for the customer, it would give you a consistent approach, consistent engagement, and a consistent competitive advantage that takes price off the table as an issue. If you do it right, it can even eliminate, or level the playing field, of “three bids.”

Most companies have created the mythical term added value. It’s a term that I have never understood. It usually is a bunch of gibberish containing very little value, and if I asked you to describe what added value is, or define what added value is, you probably couldn’t.

What is a value proposition? Let me define each element. Once this value proposition is broken down, you will clearly see how your sales presentation needs to be restructured so that the customer will know what’s in it for him or her.

And oh, by the way, if you’re using a “system of selling” or trying to “find the pain” and you’re not comfortable with it, this may be an alternative to win the sale without any manipulation whatsoever.

The value proposition is broken into a number of strategic parts. Each part stands alone, but each is critical to the others because, collectively, they build momentum, reduce perceived risk, and ultimately create a buying atmosphere. The key components:

1. The value your company provides. This is an opportunity for you to talk about what your company stands for, how they partner, how they have produced for others, and how they serve others. It’s a chance to talk about capability and loyalty without mentioning the words integrity or ethics (in my opinion, if you have to say those words, you probably are just the opposite).

2. The value your product or service provides. The best way to present product value is through the technique known as “similar situations.’’ This gives you the opportunity to talk about how your product or service has performed successfully in other environments. Be aware that it’s not yet time to use testimonials. Similar situations are: you telling a story about other successful users. Testimonials can be used at the end of your presentation to close the deal.

3. The value that you provide. If you understand that the first sale that’s made is the salesperson, the first sale that’s made is you, then you can understand the impact that this piece of the value proposition can play. If you bring no value to the table, your price will dominate the discussion and the outcome. Your value consists of things like industry knowledge, product knowledge, customer knowledge, desire to serve, timeliness, and an overall understanding of how your customer can best utilize your product or service for THEIR benefit. You have to go beyond salesman to consultant. You have to go beyond salesman to business friend. You have to go beyond salesman to being a resource. By combining those three elements, consultant, resource, friend, you achieve the most coveted business position possible: you become a trusted adviser.

4. The value in a short term incentive. Everyone wants to feel like they get a ‘deal’ when they buy something. Every infomercial on television ends the sales presentation with some form of buy two for the price of one. Short-term incentives are designed to create a greater sense of buyer urgency. In your case it may be six months of free service, a starter kit of supplies, a factory rebate, an added piece of equipment at a reduced cost, or something that enhances your offer on a one-time basis to get that customer to buy now. The danger in any short-term incentive is that the customer will want it again. Your job as master salesperson is to make certain that you have spent enough time communicating the fact that this is one-time-only.

About the author

Jeffrey Gitomer is author of The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers.
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