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.
If you have watched or listened to news about the current U.S. presidential election, debates, interviews, or pep rallies, you might have noticed some interesting forms of selling taking place.
Claims over what the various candidates would do relative to taxes, healthcare, and college are the political equivalent to salespeople talking about price. When politicians say they will lower taxes, it is very similar to when salespeople say they will have lower prices. When politicians claim that healthcare or college will be free, it is like salespeople who say their product or service includes all of the desired bells and whistles. If those claims resonate, you might get excited, raise your expectations, and then…
The “Low Price” War
While a few companies in each industry battle it out to win the silly war of having the lowest price, it’s important to note that only one company can actually have the lowest price – and always having the lowest price is not sustainable unless their volume reaches Amazonian proportions. The remaining companies in each segment must rise above the noise of price and concentrate on selling value – something most of them fail to accomplish. It’s not that they aren’t trying as much as they aren’t really doing it.
A sales conversation that even suggests any of the following things will cause severe damage to your chances of selling value.
- “We will be competitive.” Suggesting you will be competitive when you will ultimately be higher sets an expectation you cannot meet.
- “We can save you some money.” Saying you can save their company money when the competitor will save them more money challenges your integrity and credibility.
- “We will send you a quote or a proposal.” Offering to accept their request for a quote or proposal quickly turns your effort into a transactional sale that cannot coexist with selling value.
- “We will be within your budget.” Assuring them that you will be within their budget, while true, does not address the issue of you having a higher price – and will disappoint your prospects.
- “Let’s schedule a demo.” Rushing to schedule a demo – like accepting the request for a quote – turns your effort into a transactional sale.
Price simply cannot coexist in a conversation about value. You will even get in trouble if you talk about value as a means of differentiation – the low-price leaders also use the word “value” to suggest that their value lies in their low prices!
Value is not something you articulate. You would be better off saying up front that your prices will be higher than you would if you tried to articulate your value to the prospect. No, value is actually observed by prospects, not articulated to them. Value is something your prospects see in you and get from you. Value is a derivative of a true consultative approach, with its foundation built around a growing relationship – a real conversation consisting of great, thought-provoking questions about them, their challenges, how those challenges affect them, the resulting consequences, and how that makes them feel.
The biggest problem with all of that? Most salespeople can’t have that kind of dialog. It’s not that they can’t learn to. Everyone can learn it. It’s that most salespeople are very uncomfortable with it because it takes them 180 degrees away from what they are comfortable with – talking about their company, capabilities, value proposition, products, applications, services, features, benefits, and pricing.
Affirmations to Help You Sell Value Successfully
You must change in order to succeed at selling your true value. Read this aloud eight times:
Comfort is not a prerequisite for success.
Doing what feels comfortable does not lead to great results.
Doing that which achieves great results is a requirement in modern selling.
How many salespeople are able to sell value this way? The group is shrinking! Read this article to learn how few salespeople have this ability and what this means for everyone else.
If you are a sales leader and want to learn if your sales organization can become value sellers, consider a sales force evaluation. If you are a sales leader and want to hire salespeople who have the ability to sell value, consider using OMG’s accurate and predictive sales candidate assessments!
It’s worth noting that the political candidates are attempting to sell us on the value that will be provided by electing them to the presidency. In February, Trump called Cruz the biggest liar ever. On Super Tuesday, Rubio said that Trump is a con man, and Cruz said you can’t have someone in the White House if you would be embarrassed if your children were to hear him.
Bashing the competition flies in the face of selling value. On Super Tuesday, Trump recognized that and regrouped. With his new and improved approach, he congratulated Ted Cruz for winning Texas and Oklahoma, mentioning how hard Cruz had worked for those wins. Talking about your competition in a positive manner adds to your credibility – and you must have credibility in order to sell value!