Today's post is by Dave Kurlan, CEO of Kurlan & Associates.
Do you follow a sales process that’s largely built around getting a prospect to agree to watch a demo?
If so, then you’re following the herd. You’re probably also wondering why you can’t get prospects to take action after you show them your demo.
Part of the problem is that experts and thought leaders are not creating enough content that helps salespeople sell based on value. For example, when I look at what people are writing and speaking about, here’s what I see:
- Social selling (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
- Inbound marketing
- Lead nurturing
There's nothing wrong with these topics, of course, and some of the insight shared about them might even help you to become a better seller; however, I worry that experts have become too focused on addressing topics related to top-of-the-funnel issues. What sellers should be focused on is the fundamental of selling value.
Why? Selling value is the one thing that salespeople, operating without benefit of the lowest price, absolutely, positively must be able to do well in order to consistently earn business.
Admittedly, selling value isn’t a simple equation; it's an outcome of a variety of actions and highly developed skills, including
- differentiating your offering;
- making purchases that are not based on price;
- being tolerant of higher prices;
- selling in a consultative fashion;
- easily discussing financial terms (e.g., return on investment, payback period, and net present value) with decision makers.
Unfortunately, selling value happens to be one thing that salespeople often do inadequately. According to Objective Management Group's statistics (close to one million salespeople assessed), most salespeople have as strengths or skills, on average, only two of the six most important factors required to sell value.
Gerhard Gschwandtner, founder of Selling Power magazine, and I discussed this topic in this five-minute video. As Gerhard noted, there are two ways to “slip on the banana peel” with customers today. One is having irrelevant conversations. The other is having obsolete conversations. Those conversations happen when sales teams rely on techniques and insight learned in previous decades.
If you want to read more about selling value, here are three of my favorite articles on the subject. They provide nice guidelines for selling value.
Do you think a demo hurts or helps your chance to close the sale? Share your thoughts in the comments section.