There are two things that every sales professional is consistently trying to achieve. The first is deals. We all need to meet or exceed quota – every month, quarter and year. The second is the right prospects. Closing deals is hard enough on a good day, but if you spend most of your time wading through unqualified prospects or poorly defined inquiries, that leaves less time for developing and closing successful sales cycles.
Introducing Values-Based Selling
This is where values-based selling can really make an impact. Values-based selling focuses your entire sales process – from prospecting through closing new deals – around understanding and aligning with the buyer’s values. These values can come in many forms. Some of them are ethical, others are economic and still others are emotional.
In most cases if any of these values are mis-aligned between the buyer and seller, a sale will not be made…or the deal will fall through just after the ink dries. And contrary to popular perception, it is not just a question of making sure that the seller’s ethics are solid and therefore aligned with the buyer’s. There’s no reason to assume that your buyer is more ethical, less emotional and more economically aware than you are. In reality, each value you examine could go in either direction.
Use the Process to Understand Your Prospect’s Values
So, how can values-based selling strengthen your ability to identify, attract and engage with your best buyers?
First, values-based selling is a process that prompts you to get to know your existing customers and prospects more closely. One thing you might do is talk with a focus group or a core set of your current accounts and ask them to elaborate about their decision processes and priorities. That information helps create a clear picture of what motivates their buying experiences, and more specifically why they chose you and your company.
In addition, it is a natural and intuitive method of qualifying prospects. Rather than asking a fixed set of questions from your list of standard qualifying statements, ask an open-ended question. Instead of “Are you willing to spend X or Y on this decision?”, first ask “What considerations are going into how you budget for this investment?” This allows you to not only learn more, but also create price-value statements that tie to the prospect’s priorities.
Second, values-based selling naturally leads to a clearer prospect profile, or what some companies call a buyer persona. This is a written description of a representative ‘best-fit’ prospect focused on a range of questions, including their personal or work life, current challenges, sources of stress (need/pain points) and factors that they use to evaluate and select solutions to their needs.
Introduce the Language of Your Values into the Sales Process
Third, values-based selling attracts your best-fit buyers to you. The more you use values-based language across the spectrum of your selling activity – from networking events to lunches with potential referral partners to early-stage sales cycles – the deeper an understanding people will have of the kind of prospect you are looking for (and self-qualify as to whether they are that kind of person).
For example, if you work for a residential roofing company you could say “We provide home roofing repair and replacement at a competitive price and with reliable quality.” Or, you could say “We work with people just like you who are concerned about the quality of the job done – both what you can, and what you can’t see – and are willing to pay just a little bit more for that assurance.” In the latter example, you’ve actually qualified for ethics, economics and even emotions – and you’ve created a memorable story that people will relate to.
Take the Three Steps to Values-Based Selling Success
How can you begin experiencing the benefits of values-based selling? Take these three steps:
Step 1. Think about how you can make a better connection with your prospects by getting a better understanding of your current client’s wants and needs. This allows you to know who your ideal customer is.
Step 2. Think about how you can construct value statements about your products and services that will uncover what your ideal prospect values.
Step 3. When you use those value statements to evaluate whether there is a good fit with the prospect, you will find more people that fit your ideal customer profile, and results will clearly follow.