YOU CAN’T CREATE VALUE WITHOUT KNOWING ABOUT YOUR PROSPECTS’
It is so often said that you can’t add value unless, and until, you understand your customers on an individual basis. That in the main is true and when it comes to relational selling it is vital that the seller gets to know the buyer and the buyers needs and values so that those same needs and values can be addressed effectively.
On the other hand if you are one of the sellers that relies on their income from the direct selling industry and generally need to make sales in just one call, or two at the most, then you need to approach this value issue as a general ‘rule of thumb’ in the way you present the product or service and then ask appropriate questions in order to narrow down the individuals perception of their needs and values.
Far too often salespeople don’t sell many of those important prospects simply because they lack credibility with the buyer. And, the main reason they lack credibility with the buyer is, as it has been stated in the few paragraphs, it’s because they simply don’t understand their prospects/customers needs and values. What I fail to understand on this one point is that so many sellers that fail to make this connection here are the same sellers that insist they are ‘adding value.’
Let’s face it, your prospects or customers are not going to listen when you tell them what you can do for them, once they recognize you do not understand their personal needs and values. Why? If you don’t connect with them and the level of trust you need to make a sale is not there, you can’t change the fact that you have been trying to substitute what you don’t know with an opinion of what they should be doing.
Never Just Assume you Know Your Customers
Remember that someone’s value is a perception, their perception, or putting more bluntly, the customer’s perception. The salesperson should never assume they already know what’s important to their customers, or how the customer might define their needs and values. More importantly, don’t ever assume that everyone’s reasons for buying are the same. And finally, don’t ever assume what worked for the last customer is going to work for the next one, or what worked for your customer last time, be it one year, one moth or one week, is what will work for them next time you meet.
Value-adding needs to always be customer-specific process. Understanding that, the salesperson needs to realise that not one of your customers is looking for your preconceived values of their values or any of your company’s pre-packaged solutions. If they did want pre-packaged solutions they could easily get them from the internet. For their value-based solution they chose you as their problem-solving consultant who they believe understands their business and is able to help create the value they want on an ongoing basis.
Work at Getting to Know Your Customer
Getting to know your customer may need some basic market research, or it may simply need you to engage your customers in a some form of meaningful conversation. Normally it would involve both, but the real bottom line here is you will need to do the necessary work required.
To do this do some research on that market segment, then seek out any industry reports and articles that reveal any kind of insight into your prospects, customers, any competitors and what they may reveal to be important to that company or individual. Next identify the industry focus and work Google hard. This may be time consuming, but in the end, it will be worth all of the work you may undertake.
Another way of getting what you want is simply ask key people within the company. You can do this over a coffee, lunch or other away from the office meeting. The reality here is that most people are both proud of what they do and love to talk about their business and achievements. Many times they will also reveal their likes, dislikes, what they are striving to achieve as well as the things that concern them. Most times it is during private conversations like this that they will reveal the things that matter and are of value to them, and in the process are very likely to also reveal the things that are important to the company at this stage and what values they place on these things happening.
Make Value-adding a Personal Thing
Each of us as salespeople have different abilities, mannerisms, attitudes and have a personalised way in which we do things. In fact, the way I do things will generally always differ from the way one of my work colleagues would go about things concerning any customer. The same applies to value-adding. Moreover, research also suggests that a really big part of any value-adding is the salesperson and what that salesperson brings to the equation.
In any form of selling the professional salesperson is aware that they bring to the customer is only a part solution. They work at establishing themselves as part of the value adding process and are aware that their contribution is around one third of the total equation, the other equal one third factors are the company you represent and the product or service you are presenting.
In summary, and from the prospects or clients viewpoint all three need to be clearly defined so they can see the value-added benefits of each so that they can avail themselves to an overall and fully rounded value-added package. In fact, whenever an approach such as this is applied the overall impact is multiplied beyond a scale of three to maybe a scale of twice that, which in turn increases the sellers chances of acquiring a new customer and then keeping that customer for a long time.
Remember, long time customers are a great source of referrals and testimonials too. But there’s more to this. When worked effectively, value-adding comes with a number of on-going benefits. Your customers will look forward to you visiting them and they will most likely seek you out for other information – many times this may not be related to what you sell directly, but they just want your advice on other similar issues because they trust you. Furthermore, they will more than likely accept your price without question – even if it is substantially higher than industry levels.
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 68 business books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. Peter had his first book published in 1969 and now has over 133 books in all, including Business, Marketing, Sales, Free Publicity, Body Language, Music and over 30 Christian books to date. Peters books have sold over 2.5 Million copies over 48 years. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
© Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 1994, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, all rights reserved. Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com
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