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A coin holds a specific amount of value. The benefit of a coin is that you can give it to another party, allowing them to possess the value that once belonged to you. The ability to transfer the value allows you to trade your coin for something you find more valuable. You would not trade your coin for something you don't believe is more valuable to you, as another party would not trade something for your coin if they didn't find the coin more valuable to them.

Counterfeit Coins and Anti-value

In early sales conversations, a large percentage of salespeople try to hand off something that is designed to cause the client to believe the coin they offer has value. Because people are mostly polite, the prospective clients pretend the coin has value, even though they recognize it as worthless. Sadly, the salesperson offering counterfeit coins have been thoroughly convinced what they offer is valuable to their prospective clients.

Because the decision maker and their team recognize the conversation they are being offered is worthless, they recognize they have already traded their time—a singular, finite, non-renewable resource—for something that was nowhere near valuable enough to make that trade. They will not make that exchange a second time. Regretting the decision to engage with the salesperson, the prospective client is wary of other counterfeiters, choosing to do everything in their power to refuse meetings.

You may be concerned that all the fakes, phonies, and poseurs offering conversations that create no value are going to make it more difficult for you to acquire a meeting, know that it has already happened. The best you can do is prove your conversation is worth your client's time.

The Coin Is Value Creation

The idea that one should "add value" in the sales conversation is to misunderstand their obligation to their contact, who has agreed to provide you their time in trade for a conversation that is valuable to them. You can't "add value" to the sales conversation with your prospective client because the value is the conversation.

The legacy approach is built on handing your client a bunch of worthless lead coins followed by a copper penny. What the sales conversation should feel like to the client is that they pulled the arm on a slot machine and hit the jackpot, with coins falling out the machine faster than you can keep up.

The coin of the realm is value creation, so handing your contacts value beyond what they expected, makes it easier for them to agree to a second meeting. As you stack value on top of value, the preference to buy from you grows—without having to bury your contacts in the counterfeit coins you have been passing off as value.

What You Trade

The counterfeiters believe that singing the praises of their company, their leadership team, the success they've had with other clients, and how amazing their solution is when compared against any alternatives is valuable to their contacts. If there was even a hint of precious metals it is erased by the fact the salesperson before you had the same conversation two days earlier, and the salesperson that follows you two days later will repeat it verbatim, with the only difference being the logo in the bottom right corner of the slides.

These conversations provide no value, as value is mostly the result of having information disparity, knowing something the prospective client doesn't know and, in fact, cannot know. Information disparity is one of the strategies that make a salesperson One-Up. If you want to provide your client with value worth trading for, you need to help them with the decision they need to make, starting with an explanation of why they need change, what's changed in their environment, and what they will need to know to improve their results, followed by a discussion about what they need to do.

You can assume anything you might share that your client could easily find on your company's website holds no real value for them. None of it is likely to cause your contacts to prefer to buy from you and your company. When you share something your client doesn't know, they perceive it as valuable, often saying out loud, "That was very helpful," proof they believe that they captured more value than they expected.

The Contest is Value Creation

Competition isn't found between your company and your competitors; both of your companies can solve the client’s problem and improve their results. Nor is the contest one between your "solution" and your client's "solution," both being more than adequate for your prospective client's purpose. The contest isn't being played on either of these playing fields. Instead, the contest is one to determine who creates the greatest value for the prospective client within the sales conversation.

The confusion that plagues the One-Down salesperson is that they believe their solution is the value, a misconception that causes them to feel as if they've done good discovery, only to find their prospective client avoids a second meeting. The problem here is that the client needs a different set of conversations before they decide who to buy from and whose solution they believe will do the most to help them. Skipping those conversations means you have no value to trade where it counts.

Your enablement needs to prepare you with the coin of the realm, the ability to provide a client with everything they need to make a decision, make a change, and improve their results.

Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 10, 2022

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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