In recent years, the word value has become almost meaningless. This watered-down version of value frustrates anyone striving to improve sales effectiveness and overall business results. We know customers want value. But, what does that mean exactly?
Real value is simple. If what you deliver creates measurable financial impact that is relevant and meaningful to your customers, then you deliver value to that customer.
Let’s dispel some value myths that may lead you to think real value is something different.
Myth #1: Value is all about customer service.
Let’s be clear. We need and want delighted customers. Going above and beyond to satisfy your customer does not mean you deliver value—not in and of itself. Unless the customer service you offer drives incremental profits, it may make them happy, but it is not how they define value.
Myth #2: Value is all about your message.
Communicating value and delivering value are not the same thing. Some companies package elaborate messages designed for specific decision-makers and stakeholders. These messages often include information about how financial metrics may improve because of a supplier’s goods or services. Saying the right things to the right people doesn’t equate to value. To communicate value, you’ll want to quantify your offering’s impact in dollars and cents based on the customer’s data, not your suppositions. Then, deliver on your promise.
Myth #3: Value appeals to the emotional side of the customer’s decision.
Some people purport that value goes beyond the numbers—that somewhere beyond the financial impact lies this soft spot in a customer’s heart. But, companies exist to make money. Of course, effective selling depends heavily on trust and relationship building. Some customers make purchasing decisions based primarily on relationships, especially when they depend on a seller’s expertise. Some buyers, though, make their purchasing decisions based on the return on investment your offering delivers. You may have positive relationships with value buyers, but liking you is not what drives their decisions.
Myth #4: Differentiation equals value.
If you are not the low-price leader in your market, then you probably offer something unique that increases your price. That uniqueness doesn’t automatically translate to compelling, differential value. If customers don’t want or need the thing you consider differentiating and are not willing to pay for it, then you have not created value for them. If you can validate you improve your customer’s business results, then you can command a premium price.
Myth #5: Sellers can deliver value when they have the right customer insights.
This one really bothers me. Teaching sales people that if they learn more about their customer’s needs they can deliver value doesn’t go far enough. A litany of prescribed questions and better business acumen do not automatically produce value. Sellers create value when they think critically about a customer’s pain point, synthesize information, and go deeper than superficial presumptions. Real value comes when sellers learn enough to present a mutually beneficial and profitable offering that accelerates business results.
If you want your sales teams to deliver real value to your customers, then you first need to define the real value of your offerings. You can quantify real value and demonstrate its financial impact. Then, you can equip your sales teams with the tactics they need to protect that value in price negotiations and throughout the sale process.
Real value has a price tag.
When a company creates value for it's customers, they validate it's relevance and importance through the price and their ability to influence the customer’s willingness to pay. Value isn’t a mystical impossible-to-achieve dream. It’s also not a meaningless, throw-away concept.
Real value delivers real results.
If you want to know more about how you can be a Value Myth Buster in your organization, click here.