Value selling? I’m not a fan!

Last Monday I came across an article on value selling from an expert (who shall remain unnamed). Of course I was intrigued. This is my sweet spot! This is where I live.

The article emphasized the value that you as the seller can bring to your customer. It was all about what you/your product needs to do.Impact 1

But. I take issue with that article.

Let’s talk impact. Not for you. For your buyer!

It’s not what you do, what your product does. It’s about how those actions impact your buyer’s business.

True, it’s a subtle difference! But senior sales people will oh-so recognize what I’m talking about here. It’s your skill in leading a business discussion focused on their issues that your buyer will notice.

Your goal is to build on what you’ve read and learned about their business before you meet your prospect. So that the two of you can have a compelling and impactful business conversation. You want (and they want) to go deeper in that conversation. You want to learn what they are trying to accomplish, what stands in the way of achieving organizational goals, and how they measure their success in getting there.

A standard set of questions that really works

Be sure to add these questions to your conversations with buyers (I’m talking decision-makers here):

  1. What goals are you tasked with for the next 12-18 months (choose the time interval depending on their business)?
  2. What measures do you have in place to know you’ve been successful at achieving these goals?
  3. What challenges are you having, or do you anticipate will arise, in achieving these goals?

Here’s the key difference:

Providing value (what the seller does) –> Impacting the business (what the buyer gets)

Value: How much someone will pay for your product/service – this focuses on the activity of you justifying that amount

Business Impact: The positive change that the company will realize when the solution is implemented – this focuses on your prospect/client’s business

It’s almost 2016. Be suspicious of value selling or solution selling, or, my favourite, persuasive selling (that actually exists!). Each of these puts the focus on YOU. Instead, think high impact or customer-focused selling. Aim to truly have an impact on your customer’s business. It’s the next step beyond “talk about benefits, not features.”

It’s a step that gets you focused on your customer, their business, their issues, the things that keep them awake it at night. You’ll find it’s a subtle switch, but a powerful one.