Value Statement: The “One Size fits All” Value Statement
You hear a lot of salespeople on forums, LinkedIn discussion groups and other areas of the internet talk about giving the prospect a solid value statement to garner interest. I always found this to be an interesting approach. Because in my mind, the question always arose, “How do you know what they consider valuable until you have a conversation with them?” Unless the product salespeople are selling is very simple in nature and does not provide a multi-faceted and complex solution, how does one pinpoint the statement of value that will peak the interest of that particular client?
Can you Research a Strong Value Statement?
Most companies do not publish their issues in production, their cost saving initiatives, customer service issues with vendors or any of inefficiencies in process they are facing. Maybe if the company is publically traded, there will be news about production issues or some kind of crisis the company is dealing with. But even public companies try to keep that stuff under wraps. They don’t want the opposition to know what kind of competitive advantage they can garner. By the time it’s in the news, chances are the company is already researching solutions and you’re on the tail end of that train. This is not always true, as there may be industry wide changes happening that you can leverage. But I believe that is the exception rather than the rule.
Could you Use Examples of Past Client’s Successes?
This is be a great approach, again if you have a very simple solution…Like you sell those standing water purifiers that are becoming popular. They are more environmentally friendly, cheaper than buying a whole bunch of bottles every month and tap right into your existing pipe infrastructure. These systems probably provide other value that some people will find more important, but cheaper, easier and environmentally friendly will more than likely be good enough for 90% of people out there. This example of a shotgun value statement breaks down pretty quickly when you are selling say complex manufacturing solutions, highly commoditized complex solutions or ANY technical solution for that matter. With these types of products or services you tend to bring a different kind of value to each of your clients. Maybe one client was tired of continual customer service and response issues, another client was facing continual mechanical breakdowns in their infrastructure, yet another was driven by cost or maybe they found the incumbent vendor had a lack of technical skill to appropriately implement or maintain the solution. The list goes on and on…
Which Value Statement do you Pick?
So now you have to make a choice, you can’t run through all the value your product offers in the initial cold call. No prospect is going to let you take the time to do that. Plus, you simply end up presenting on the phone by doing this. The shotgun approach is literally shooting value statements out there at random, hoping it matches up to what they are looking for. If it doesn’t and they aren’t interested in that value, you begin to sound like a used car salesman…sounding more and more desperate to earn business every time you throw a value statement out there and they aren’t interested. This is not the image of the expert consultant you want to portray.
On the off Occasion
Let’s say every once in a while you find someone that is interested in the value statement that you throw out there, because you called enough people and finally someone had that exact problem. You say, “We decrease costs compared to our competition.” You ask how much they pay, and it’s less than what you cost. Where do you go from there? You’re dead in the water; you’re already a liar in their eyes. Maybe you are cheaper in regards to the high level of benefit you provide compared to the cost you charge. But they don’t care, you said you could decrease their costs and you can’t. Maybe you throw out the proposition that you can increase efficiency and get their product to the market faster. They say tell me more, you ask how fast they can go from development to production to market release and it’s the same or less than what you offer. Again, you put yourself in a position where you couldn’t live up to your promises.
Back to the Beginning
This brings me back to my original question: “How would a salesperson know what is valuable before they have figured out what problems the prospect is facing?” The only way to truly understand how you can provide value is to ask:
“Hi _______________. My name is ___________ with ________________ we do XXXX. I wasn’t sure if it was you or someone else I should be speaking with, but I wanted to see if it made sense to have a conversation about how we could add some value to what you are currently doing.”
Now you are inviting the prospect to have a short conversation with you, it’s been my experience that if they have a need, they will disclose it to you. Remember, questions are the key. They may say, “sure, let’s talk.” Don’t go into shotgun value proposition mode again. Simply ask where you might be able to help and let them talk. Prospects understand that in order to give them a viable solution, there’s a baseline of information you need. Get that information from them, find out where they have an issue and then utilize the value statement that best fits their need.
This Does One other Thing
Using a shotgun value statement can often lead to wasted time. For instance, when you use the decreased cost value statement without understanding their need, the prospect may immediately agree to meet with you. Wonderful, you now have a meeting; except you don’t actually know if you can save them money or if that’s even the real issue. You go into the meeting and find out they are already spending less money and now you have shot yourself in the foot, because you already look like a liar. If they have another problem you can solve, they aren’t going to give you the business. Use the phone to pre-qualify the appointment, so you are putting your time into only the prospects that are most valuable to you.
To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:
Tom McDonald, [email protected]; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752