One of the most eye-opening stats from our latest research, Top Performance in Sales Prospecting, is the lack of value buyers report receiving in their sales meetings.
Many sellers talk about value and say they provide exceptional value to their customers, yet few are actually delivering on this promise.
In the study of 488 buyers, they revealed that 58 percent of sales meetings are not valuable.
More than half of the sales meetings buyers are attending provide no value to them! Those sellers who do provide value, however, have a great advantage.
What does value look like?
Sellers must get better at driving value in sales meetings. This begs the question, what do buyers value?
To find out, we asked the buyers in our study what factors influence their ultimate purchase decision. Their answers point to what they value most from sellers:
- 93 percent: collaborates with me.
- 92 percent: educates me with new ideas and perspectives.
- 92 percent: provides valuable insight related to my industry or market.
Here are three meaningful ways you can add value to your sales meetings.
- Collaborate with Buyers
Buyers want sellers who will work with and guide them to make better decisions. They want sellers to be consultants who facilitate discussions, push back on buyer thinking, ask insightful questions, pull out ideas from them, and provide expert advice.
They’re looking for sellers who will help them shape the path forward together.
Buyers at both new logos and existing accounts want sellers who collaborate. For example, we found that top performers in strategic account management are 2.2 times more effective of working collaboratively with accounts to co-create value.
Collaboration vs. Presentation – An Example of Intestinal Meat
Everyone likes intestinal meat, right? I mean, it’s so popular that it’s springing up on menu after menu in all the busiest restaurants, and even the kids are eating it.
Well, maybe not, but collaboration might just be able to make it happen.
One of the founders of organizational psychology, Kurt Lewin, set up a test with two groups of homemakers. His team lectured the first group on the reasons and benefits of eating intestinal meat. They also applied social pressure and played on the homemakers’ senses of patriotism (“you’ll help the war effort”) to persuade them. They even brought in others to talk about how much they loved intestinal meat and gave the homemakers recipes to try.
The second group participated in a facilitated discussion. Study leaders asked the homemakers how they might persuade other homemakers to bring the benefits of intestinal meat to their families. They talked it out, role-played conversations, and shared ideas.
The results were astounding:
- 32 percent of the collaborative discussion group went on to serve intestinal meat to their families at home.
- 3 percent of the first group did.
The collaborative process was 10 times more effective than the pitch-only persuasion.
When you collaborate, buyers find your meetings much more valuable.
- Educate Buyers with New Ideas and Perspectives
The emphasis here is on new ideas. What’s new to one buyer may not be to another. What one buyer finds insightful may only validate what another buyer already knows.
If you want to provide new ideas, don’t start with a presentation on something that may or may not be new to the buyer. Instead, start by asking insightful questions. Asking these questions can be extremely valuable to both you and your buyers.
Once you help the buyer clearly understand the situation, you can share your expertise, guide the conversation, and inspire them with new ideas.
- Become an Industry and Problem-Solving Expert
Buyers want to know what’s going on in their market. They want to know what other companies in their industry are doing to succeed. You can be that source of information.
In our Top Performance in Sales Prospecting research, the top offers most likely to influence buyers to accept a meeting or connect include: primary research data relevant to our business (69 percent), descriptions of the provider’s capabilities (67 percent), content 100 percent customized to our specific situation (67 percent), and insight on the use of products or services to solve business problems (66 percent).
To start, use your company’s research on topics relevant to buyers and deliver that research to them. Or, collect case studies from your customers and develop lists of best practices. Then, reach out to your buyers with offers to share these best practices, findings, or results in a meeting.
When you show up to the meeting, don’t pitch your products or services. Deliver what you said you would—the research, cases, or best practices — and use this time to demonstrate how your products and services help achieve these outcomes.
Don’t forget to ask questions and collaborate with buyers to make it even that much more valuable.
In your next sales meeting, focus on collaborating with buyers, educating them with new ideas, and sharing marketing or industry insights. Do this and you’ll not only deliver more valuable meetings, but you’ll also win more sales.