Like many salespeople, you may have been taught to believe that your solution is the value. It is true that your product or service can solve a client's problem. Yet, this is a limiting view of how you can build value in sales. There are more ways to do it, some greater than others.
The following list will provide you with additional strategies and tactics that will allow you to differentiate yourself and build value for your clients. These strategies will also create a preference to buy from you.
How to Build Value with Strategic Outcomes
It's difficult to rescue a salesperson who has been brainwashed to believe their solution is the value. They continually explain how their product or service is different in some way that makes it the best on earth. It can take weeks or months to help these poor souls realize that no one cares about their solution.
When trying to build the value of your solution, one outcome is that you come to believe it is special. Eventually, you discover that your competitors are not savages and that their solutions are on par with your own.
Ultimately, clients don’t want to buy a solution. They want to buy better outcomes—specifically, the strategic outcomes they need to succeed. Instead of trying to build the value of the product or service, build the value of the strategic outcomes.
If you are new to sales or haven't been trained in a modern sales approach, you may not recognize how building value in this way differentiates you and increases your appeal among your contacts. See Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition for more on this approach.
Build Value by Correcting Information Disparity
Information disparity means one party has information unknown to the other party. If you can get past the idea that the solution is everything, you can shift to an approach in which you use your knowledge and experience to educate your contacts. The knowledge you share allows leaders to understand how to make the right decisions and improve their company's strategic outcomes. This is rich territory for building value.
The reason we call certain contacts decision-makers is because they make decisions. Explaining the factors to consider and how best to weight them builds value by improving your contacts’ decision-making. There is tremendous value in enabling an informed decision.
You can find more about the power of information disparity in Elite Sales Strategies: A Guide to Being One-Up, Creating Value, and Becoming Truly Consultative.
Build Value by Facilitating the Buyer's Journey
We underestimate how difficult it is for a company to pursue a change initiative. What you and I describe as an opportunity, our clients see as change. Change is never easy, but it is less likely to occur without a series of conversations.
Leaders aren’t likely to have a great deal of experience buying what you sell because they rarely pursue a change that would require it. You build value by facilitating the client's buyer's journey. To do this you must help your contacts engage in the necessary conversations. As you go, link the conversations by gaining commitments for the next outcome on the journey. You build value by being the company's sherpa, guiding them along a path to ensure their success.
You may recognize that none of these strategies include anything about features, benefits, or advantages. You can find a complete guide to this approach in The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales.
Teaching Your Clients to Choose the Right Model
Different companies use different models to create value for their clients. One reason so many companies have buyer's remorse is that they believe that every company in the industry, excluding their own, is exactly the same. Viewing the industry in this commoditized way causes clients to make poor selections when buying. When they make a poor choice, they regret it. Often, they repeat their mistake.
You can build value by teaching your contacts to recognize the concessions that come with each model they are considering. For example, the lowest-price model will require the client to knowingly or unknowingly agree to certain concessions. These could include late deliveries, poor customer service, or more failures than they can accept if they want to keep their own customers. Not to play favorites, the highest-priced model typically comes with one big concession, as the client must pay more for the better results. In most industries there are more than two models, and explaining the strengths and concessions for each one enables your client to make an informed decision.
This strategy is called triangulation. You can learn more about this technique in Elite Sales Strategies: A Guide to Being One-Up, Creating Value, and Becoming Truly Consultative.
The Truth about Building Value in Sales
The legacy approach suggests that you build value by building up your company, presenting it as a good and safe choice. It also proposes that the solution itself is the value. To do this, you must spend a great deal of time trying to convince your contacts it is special. And to make things harder for you, your competitor's solution is also special, something that your contacts have undoubtedly been told over and over in meetings with other salespeople. When you use the same approach as everyone else, it is impossible to differentiate yourself.
Fortunately, the contest to build value isn’t between a bunch of different and very special solutions. Instead, it's a contest between salespeople. The better salesperson builds value for their clients by being consultative, someone who is responsible for ensuring their clients succeed in their change initiative and produce the strategic outcomes their business requires.
The more valuable your conversations are for your prospective clients, the more value you build. The best approach is to explain how you can help your client produce the strategic outcomes they need.