Think of the last time you won a close, competitive sales opportunity. What tipped the scales in your favor?
In sales situations where it’s difficult to differentiate your solution from the competition’s, you often win by offering your buyer extra services, or value-added benefits. These are extra services beyond what you provide with your primary product or service at additional cost to the buyer.
Chances are you're already providing your buyers value-added benefits, but you're likely not getting credit for them.
Types of value-added benefits
Here are a few common examples of value-added benefits:
- Support services: services provided by your company, not by you personally. Such services include free training or a 24-hour customer service hotline.
- Consulting services: services that you offer, such as providing your expertise on use or implementation. But be careful! Consulting services can require an extensive time commitment on your part, so offer these only to high-potential accounts.
- Personal services: enhancements that you bring to an account. For example, you make an urgent delivery yourself. Some sales professionals simply tell their customers, “If you have a problem, just give me a call.”
- Promotional services: help you give to buyers to help them grow their business or do their jobs more efficiently. Examples include point-of-purchase materials, advertising, free samples, job aids or tools, and technical guides.
Use these categories to trigger your thinking and help you identify which value-added benefits you can offer buyers. Of course, any such value-added benefits should relate to the buyer’s needs— otherwise they won’t value it.
Quantifying value-added benefits
To maximize the competitive advantage that value-added benefits give you, it’s important that you quantify their value. Buyers will have a greater appreciation of your total offering when you identify and present the why value-added benefits actually add value.
Not all value-added benefits (e.g., personal services) have an obvious value. However, whenever possible, make them tangible and memorable by quantifying them.
Here are a few ways to quantify value-added benefits:
1. Benefit to buyer
When you can’t quantify the value the buyer receives, a back-up option is to quantify the cost to your organization of providing the benefit. For example, “Based on your volume, our free shipping will save you $500 per month.”
2. Convert numbers to bottom-line values
Try to quantify using dollars rather than percentages or time when possible. “This could save you up to $8,000 a month,” is more impactful than “Your efficiency will increase by up to 10%.”
3. Link value-added benefits together
Look for as many value-added benefits as possible. Often when you identify one benefit, it leads to others that you might not have considered.
Here is an example:
“To save you start-up time, which was one of your priorities, I’d like to offer you training and access to our high priority technical support. If you do have problems, you’ll be able to get access to a technician within one hour without any extra charge. Of course, if you have any urgent issues, you can always call me directly.”
Value-added benefits can make the difference between winning and losing in a competitive situation and help reinforce why selecting your solution is a good decision. So, before your next sales presentation, identify and quantify specific value-added benefits for your buyer.
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