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Ask yourself: Ever had a prospective client request a discount, postpone an order, or worse, cancel purchasing from you or your salespeople? Well then it’s a good bet they don’t understand your offerings true value. Wait a minute you say, no one wins them all. You’re right, but those who effectively sell value win more often, accelerate their sales cycle, and make the customer feel better about their purchase in the process.


Hall of fame football coach, Vince Lombardi, said, “Inches make the champion.” The same applies to the selling profession; it’s a game of inches. EVERY BUSINESS DAY your salespeople have opportunities to win new business. How effective or ineffective they are in the sales process determines their success or failure – and ultimately the return (or lack thereof) on your sales investment.

The fact is your salespeople are always on the verge of either making or losing their next sale. What if they could execute better and win a sale that they would have lost? How about if they did that on a consistent basis? Now multiply that by the number of salespeople you employ $$$. That’s YOUR Value!

Defense! Any coach worth his whistle will tell you defense is the best solution to a good offense. The reality of most sales organizations is that their customer’s have a better system (defense) than they do of selling them on their value (offense).

Ask yourself: Ever had a prospective client request a discount, postpone an order, or worse, cancel purchasing from you or your salespeople? Well then it’s a good bet they don’t understand your offerings true value. Wait a minute you say, no one wins them all. You’re right, but those who effectively sell value win more often, accelerate their sales cycle, and make the customer feel better about their purchase in the process.

WIIFM or “What’s in it for me?” That’s what your prospective clients want to know. A champion salesperson understands this and, rather than selling on price, sells value by way of the customer’s expressed value areas and by educating the customer on the cost of ownership.

Example: Let’s say a prospect is looking to buy a new car and has narrowed their decision between two. Car A is $38,000 and Car B is $42,000. All things being equal, which one would you buy? Well, all things being equal, Car A seems like the logical choice at $4000 less. But, unless the cars are 100% identical, all things are not equal and therefore one has more value (to the customer) then the other.

This is where a champion salesperson could sell Car B and make the customer feel happy about spending more money. In a nutshell:

Through thoughtful questioning, the champ salesperson reveals that the customer intends on using the vehicle primarily for business and regards interior space, particularly in the backseat where business associates and clients will no doubt spend some time, as a major influencer in his purchase decision. Unfortunately, that space comes with a premium as clearly the more expensive vehicle has a roomier backseat. The question then becomes is the bigger backseat worth the increase in price to the customer? Alone, maybe not, but what about if we consider other areas? Are there any other features or options only available on Car B that are valuable to the customer and justify the price increase?

How about cost of ownership? Let’s say Car A averages 20 miles per gallon and Car B averages 24 mpg. How much driving does our customer do? Let’s say 700 miles a week (not uncommon for business purposes). To meet this, Car A requires 35 gallons of gas and, due to better gas mileage, Car B requires only 29. At $3.75 a gallon that’s an extra $22.50 a week for gas. Hmmm… That’s an additional expense of over $90.00 each month. Allowing 2 weeks off for vacation, this one area alone would cost the customer an additional $1125.00 over the next year. Assuming the customer will keep the vehicle for 3 years, he would actually pay $3,375.00 more for the less expensive vehicle over the term of his ownership, and that’s if gas prices don’t go up!

Any calculator will tell you that this scenario alone goes a long way towards paying for the price increase and, when combined with other monetized value areas, should be enough to sway the purchase decision – and also make the customer happy with his fiscally responsible choice.

So what does this selling cars scenario have to do with selling software? Everything. In software sales the prospect is always thinking WIIFM. If the salesperson can’t translate features and functions into value areas and monetize theses areas so the customer not only knows the gain/savings of the solution but also the loss/consequences of not buying, or going with a competitor, then the decision will typically default to price. Good luck if that’s not you or you’re up against a champion adversary from a competing company.

In my Sell Value or Pay the Price seminar/workshop, we evaluate not only the features and functions of the software but also the potential value that the company and the salesperson brings to the table. All these areas present the opportunity to either add value or devalue the offering and the customer’s perception of value.

About the author

Steve Ferrante

Steve Ferrante

Steve's professional sales career began in the late 1980's/early 90's with successful sales/sales management…

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