Today's post is by Dave Kurlan, founder and CEO of Objective Management Group Inc. and Kurlan & Associates, and author of Mindless Selling and Baseline Selling: How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know About the Game of Baseball.
Everyone has had an experience where their expectations were not met. Such experiences can elicit a strong emotional response – from rage, to disappointment, to sad, to vengeful. I had one of these experiences recently at the airport. Despite arriving 2 ½ hours before my international flight, I was still waiting in line to check my bags and get a boarding pass just 30 minutes before scheduled take-off. I was told it was too late to check and pay ($100) for my extra bag because we were inside the 30-minute mark. I explained that I wasn’t too late, but they were too inefficient and slow. After all, I had been there for a very long time.
The counter agent did not have any desire to help me and I was getting upset. My wallet and credit card were both out to pay for the extra piece of luggage, but she could not take payment because of the poor timing. She finally agreed to check the bags and, as you probably guessed, I didn’t see my luggage again for three days. I didn’t see my wallet and credit cards again – ever – having left them behind in my rush to reach the gate.
That scenario is a great example of value selling. I know – you’re thinking, “That’s value selling? Are you some kind of crazy person?”
I’m not crazy.
In modern selling, the way we sell value is to draw out those experiences from prospects until they once again feel the original emotion from their experience. If it’s a current problem, it can be even simpler to get your prospect to share and become emotional. The value you provide lies in your ability to coax the consequences and emotions – the entire story – and provide the solution that not only makes the problem disappear, but the emotions too.
Most sellers believe that value selling is only about quantification and justification. While those competencies (math and flowcharting) are very important, it’s easier to quantify and justify when you have already extracted the problem, consequences and emotions.
For example, as a result of my long wait, poor service, disrespectful treatment, and anger, I had no money, no identification, and no clean clothes, and experienced a complete sense of helplessness for three days. The consequence was that I had to spend countless hours on the phone cancelling credit cards, getting a replacement driver’s license, updating dozens of Web subscriptions that were being billed to one of my cards – and that I had to deal with a complete disruption of my life. If I had to calculate the lost time, aggravation, stress, and the embarrassment of having to borrow money from people, I would place that cost at about $15,000.
If you were selling to me, I would find tremendous value in a high-priced turnkey VIP travel experience for any amount up to $5,000 over and above what I paid for that ticket to make sure I never again experienced a scenario like that. Best price or lowest price would have zero appeal.
As a sales manager, your job is to coach your salespeople on the skills they need to sell value. In the video interview below, I share a number of practical steps you can take to make sure your salespeople are working effectively with the customer to move the sale forward.