One of the messages that us sales speaker types have been very good at getting across over the last few years is the motto of how to sell on value and not on price. In sales training seminar after sales training seminar around the country sales managers, sales directors and sales trainers keep banging on about value being the key and how salespeople should not sell on price. Sales managers and business owners stress the importance of why you should sell on value and not price. Salespeople know that that they should sell on value and not price. As such, when I ask the question at sales seminars and sales conferences, all salespeople are quick to say that we should sell on value and not price.
But, given that they know this so well and repeat it like they’re saying, “Pieces of eight!” why then do so many rush to discount their products and services so quickly? And why do they invest so much time moaning that their competitors are under cutting them? And why do they waste their energy whining that their products aren’t any better than those of their competition?
Because most salespeople believe that clients do buy on price. They don’t believe that they buy on value. And they don’t truly believe that they sell on value. They just say it because they know that it’s the right thing to say.
Saying that value is more important than price is not enough. Words without attitudes, beliefs and intent are not enough. You actually have to believe it. If you don’t really believe it, when the chips are down, you’ll discount! And that’s what happens in sales meetings and sales presentations all over the world and it will be happening somewhere right now as you read this.
If salespeople and business people want to do something about this and start to sell on value and not price, if salespeople want to get what they are truly worth, then the first thing that they have to do is to start being a bit more honest with themselves. If you don’t really believe that you can sell on value then you need to admit it. Only by admitting this can you start to build up the value of your product or service in your own mind.
Private healthcare gave me value for money…
Several years ago I had cause to go into hospital for a one day operation. I went private and paid for it myself. In the UK, the NHS and the private doctors are one and the same by enlarge. Infact, private consultants are normally rushing to get to you after finishing their NHS clients… or the other way around. So the product is often pretty much identical. OK, so I got my own private room but given that all I did was doze in it for 45 minutes before and a couple of hours afterwards, that hardly mattered. I waited 6 weeks for a procedure because some drugs had to kick in first for a few weeks. This meant that going private was probably no quicker than the NHS either.
So it was no quicker, I had the same consultant and I was barely in the hospital for any time at all. At the time, I had no insurance so I paid for it myself. I reckon 90% of salespeople trying to make that sale would not have believed that they could persuade me to pay to go private for such a minor thing with so “little” to differentiate it from the free offering. Surely it would not be worth it. Surely, it could not have provided enough value for me to pay, could it?
Yes! Yes! And Yes!
The first thing you need to remember is that value is always in the eye of the beholder. Had I gone to Bradford Royal Infirmary the staff would have been professional and polite but in essence I would have been rolled in and rolled out. They are understaffed, overworked and trying to keep up. At the private hospital I was “meeted and greeted”, the nurses introduced themselves to me, the surgeon came to see me (twice) before the operation and even the anesthetist popped his head in to say that he would be the one knocking me out! When I woke up the nurse was by my bedside and prepared to chat to me. She seemed concerned about my mental well being and not just my physical health. I was worried about the operation and to me this one-to-one time was worth the money.
Value can only ever be dictated by the client and their circumstances.
I am sure that many people reading this blog would say, “The hell with paying thousands of pounds for a chat.” I have certainly shared this story and the actual costs with many, many seminars delegates over the years and many are categorical that they would not pay it. In fact, most. Some even say that they would not go private on principle even if they had it or could afford it. But some see it the same way as me and would also have paid. They would see it as value for money, as I did. And, in my mind, it was money well spent. And I am the customer!
If you want to sell on value and not on price, the first step, even before you work on your sales skills and sales techniques, even before you do any sales training, is to make sure that you truly believe in the value that you add for your target clients. You don’t have to be able to add it for everyone. Just your target clients.
One good way of building up your belief in how you add value for your prospects, your clients and your customers is to spend some time understanding your customers better. Keep case studies and compile them. Really know how you add value for individual customers. Share with others in your organisation about their experiences too. It’s one thing saying that you add value but if you really know how you do and you have “proof”, then it’s hard not to believe it. If you leave this to chance there is a good possibility that you will never truly believe the real value of your products, services or solutions.
As sales training tips go, focusing on how you sell on value and not price and really reinforcing this in your head could make a massive difference for you, your sales results and your business. I’ll be writing more on selling on value in the future so to make sure that you always get my latest sales tips, stories and articles, join my success newsletter free. It’s always full of good stuff and you’ll be the first to hear about my latest projects and sales training offers.