Here’s a quick snap-shot overview of the evolution of Sales, from the dawn of time until now:
Floating amoebas – prostitution – goods and services – selling the benefits of goods and services – selling solutions; and then finally: selling value.
Congratulations. You are now qualified to talk knowledgeably about the complete history of Sales. You slugger, you!
Now let’s discuss the latest one, with particular emphasis on that sneaky little word: Value.
From buzzword to useful tool
When we hear terms like ‘value,’ we intrinsically feel that we should agree with their spirit and ethos. They just seem right. But then comes the tricky part. How do you actually do value? How do you go about providing it, practically speaking? Better still, how do you use it to sell more effectively than your competitors?
The simplest answer is: by providing useful education. Otherwise stated: don’t just preach to your customers, teach them. Teach them what? Well, teach them how to use you, and your organisation, to their benefit.
Let’s take a simple example. Say you’re selling for an events company. You can stand out from your competitors by teaching your customers how to host a successful event; all the in’s and out’s. After all, you know much more about events than they do. You know what can go wrong, what more they might consider, what opportunities are available to them, the little tips ‘n tricks that can help to set their event apart.
In most cases, someone else also makes what your company makes. Someone else provides the same service. The best opportunity for distinction lies in how useful you are at guiding them toward their goals. That value is worth more to your clients than your actual product.
With that in mind, are you using Value as part of your USP? Is it built into your pitches? Do you have leave-behind materials with insightful tips for your customers on how to go about what they are trying to achieve (with the underlying message that you can help to get them there?).
PR practitioners do this all the time, and it works. Dispense knowledge for free. Teach your customers how to achieve their goals. Show them how best to use you. Be proactive and guide them through the whole process, like a caring host. That is value. And giving true value positions you as an expert within your industry.
– From the book ‘50 Ways to Position Yourself as an Expert.’ Meet the author and view his speeches at: www.douglaskruger.co.za