In a recent conference call, one of the delegates on the call described a scenario where a prospective client kept on asking the question: “ If I buy your product, what am I buying?” Often times, our response to this type of question is that the customer is just being difficult, and we treat the question as we would traditionally treat an objection. This scenario got me thinking in greater detail about our ability to communicate our “Value” to prospective clients so that they are better able to make an informed decision. In a rapidly changing marketplace, customers are increasingly asking “What am I buying?” and “Where is the Value?” In order to unpack this further, it is important to get clarity on the concept of Value versus Commodity. VALUE: The real value of a thing is its utility; its power or capacity of procuring or producing goods; worth; and importance. COMMODITY: A mass-produced, unspecified product; something useful or valued; a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand names) other than price. Our purpose in the business is to provide a service and to add value of some sort to our clients. When done correctly this will lead to success and ultimately financial return. True selling is serving a client – providing a solution to THEIR needs that is not motivated by our desire to capture those we are intending to serve. In order to differentiate our value versus a commodity, we need to be asking several questions about ourselves and our organizations?
- Is selling a commodity any different from selling a proprietary product or service?
- Does your value proposition change when you’re selling something that is perceived as a commodity?
- To a “true Salesperson” is there such a thing as a commodity?
- How does the prospect or customer’s perspective affect our value?
- What values can be added to the sale of a commodity other than price?
- Where can you add accuracy, speed, gratitude and appreciation to the clients you deal with daily?
- How is your team communicating the true value of your product or service to the prospect or customer?
In the selling process, our first objective is to build TRUST with the prospect. We can only build a relationship with the client after the sale has been concluded – not before that. Therefore:
- What are you building with each prospect and each customer each time you talk to them or see them that will lead to them trusting you and your product or service?
- How are you building rapport that leads to trust?
- When you win their trust – you win their heart and desire to do business with you!
As Todd Duncan said: “Trust, in its most primitive form, is based upon AUTHENTICITY, not flawlessness”. In conclusion:
- The prospect’s perspective should not affect our focus and willingness to serve them and add value to them.
- In a true servant lead sales organisation there is no such thing as a commodity.
- Building TRUST and SERVING our CLIENTS’ NEEDS (and not ours) should be the core focus of any sales process.
- Successful people and organisations love the question, “Where is the value in what you are doing?” and how do you communicate that to your clients that empowers them to make an informed decision?
- Obtaining and communicating your value proposition clearly to your prospects and customers will largely eliminate the type of question asked at the beginning of this article – “Where is the value and what am I buying?”
Pieter Scholtz, ActionCOACH Country Partner