I often ask people what “value” is. Then I tell them why their definition doesn’t matter.

As salespeople, we like to view see ourselves as being smart and knowing not only everything about what we sell, but everything else as well.  On the one hand, this can be good as it can help us to be confident and it can drive us to learn more.

The problem we get into is when we start thinking what we know is the only thing we need to know. Ultimately, this will only destroy our sales motivation.

When I say our definition of “value” is not what we need to know, what I’m saying is it doesn’t matter what we think. It’s what the customer thinks that is important.  Our entire sales presentation needs to be centered around helping the customer define the word “value” in relationship to what we’re selling.

Customers will never buy anything until they have at least answered in their own mind what the definition of “value” is to what they’re buying.

Our goal is to get the customer to share that definition with us and in so doing to allow us as the salesperson to expand on it.  Too many times in sales, we can rush into a sales call and start making assumptions as to what it is the customer might see as “value.”

Yes, we can many times be correct, but we still have to get the customer to share it verbally with us.

There’s something about when the customer articulates what it is they’re looking for that helps them begin to see the need for the purchase.  At the same time, when they articulate it to us, we then have the opportunity to help them build on their thinking.

This is one of the reasons why I say the quick sale can often times be a cheap sale or the only sale. If we close a sale without understanding first-hand from the customer what they’re looking for, we may very well not be able to deliver on what they want. They may still purchase, but in the end, if what we provide them does not match their definition of “value,” then we will have a difficult time making the second sale.

What I’m saying here is not that a quick or short sale should not be made out of fear of selling the customer something they don’t want.  No, what I’m saying is we need to make sure what we’re providing them matches their level of expectations.  All this takes time.  You, the salesperson, must take the time to engage with the customer in a conversation that gets them to share their needs and expectations.

With this information you can then help to explain and share with them how your product or service offering will be able to do just that.  Want to read about my perspective on all of this when I was the customer? Check out this post.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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