If you want to create and win more opportunities, value-based conversations will do more than anything to differentiate you from your competitors and fill your pipeline. A large percentage of salespeople have been taught to pursue conversations they believe will help them to win new clients, with most of these conversations working against the salesperson's goals.
The best way to pursue value-based conversations is to imagine what the client needs to know in order to improve their results. When we describe an approach as consultative, we are pointing at a set of behaviors that are value-based. It's also important to know that the sequence of conversations can also make the conversation valuable or a waste of time.
The Self-Orientation of the Legacy Sales Approaches
Imagine you are on a first date, and you really want to impress the person sitting across the table from you at a nice, Italian restaurant. After you order drinks, you start to list all the reasons this person should be interested in pursuing a relationship with you. You start by sharing how good-looking you are (obvious), and how much money you make, followed by showing them a picture of your car and your house.
You wouldn't do that!
For decades now, the first meeting with a client has resembled a bad first date. The conversation is supposed to prove that your company and your products and services are right for the client. This approach is more than one hundred years old, and yet, it persists because leaders believe this approach differentiates them when it really positions them as a commodity. It's also the root cause of salespeople failing to convert a first meeting into a second meeting.
To be clear here, the conversation you believe is helping you actually causes you to fail. The failure to provide a value-based conversation has your prospective client looking for someone who can help them improve their results.
The Value-Based Conversations
There are certain conversations that allow you to create value for your client. The value in these conversations accrues to both the client and the salesperson. The best way to think about how to win new clients is to recognize that the more value you create, the greater their preference is to buy from you. Any conversation that enables the client to make a well-informed decision is going to be valuable to them. You also score points for educating your clients on what they should avoid. Here are several value-based conversations you need to be consultative and win new clients.
Explaining the Current Environment: In a world of accelerating, constant, disruptive change, it is difficult for your contacts to keep up on everything that might harm their results. The value the client receives from this briefing helps them begin to recognize why they can’t produce the results that they generated in the past.
The Implications of External Forces on Results: By explaining how these forces make it difficult for your client to generate the results they need, you help your contacts to recognize the need to change and begin to understand what changes may be necessary. This is a value-based conversation, as the client is being educated in areas where they lack knowledge and experience.
Helping Clients Discover: In a traditional sales approach, you ask questions designed to provide you with information about your client, something they need you to do. But a value-based approach is one that finds you asking your contacts questions that help them learn something about themselves, their situation, and what they must do to improve their business.
Updating Beliefs and Preferences: It's likely that your contacts have been doing something for a long time. The way they have done things worked very well for them for a long time, but now it is producing results that are less than they need. Updating your client's beliefs and preferences helps to put them on the path to improving their results. The value-based conversation here creates a paradigm shift that helps the break from the past.
Facilitating the Client's Buyer's Journeys: Because your clients don't buy what you sell frequently enough, a valuable conversation about how they should go about pursuing the change they need to make is helpful, as it can prevent the problems that will end their journey, leaving them no better than where you found them.
Creating Certainty: The value-based discussions you have with your clients provides the certainty to move forward and make the necessary changes that improve their results. The legacy conversations that are supposed to create the certainty that the company is a good choice are not as powerful as one that provide the certainty of success.
Measuring Your Sales Effectiveness
The more valuable your conversations are for your client, the more valuable they are for you. By taking an other-oriented approach to the sales conversation, you not only differentiate yourself and your company but create a strong preference to buy from you.