You remember the 1980’s, don’t you? That’s when companies spent their time in conference rooms crafting catchy sounding value propositions. Back then, all one needed was to massage the message until it properly communicated value in a meaningful way. Then, salespeople were trained to present that value proposition whenever they were in front of a prospect. The value proposition was used to gain attention, get appointments, and get business. If my value proposition sounded better than your value proposition, and the prospect liked me, I was in a much better position to get the business.
Then came the 1990’s. The value proposition as marketing slogan faded away and companies learned that they actually needed to provide real value. This gave birth to “value added”, where companies created a thing they could do or add to a sale that would provide additional value to their customers.
Fast forward to the present and customers are so done with both value propositions and value adds. Today, if there is to be any real value that differentiates one company over a competitor, it is the salesperson, who must not only provide some value, but also BE the value.
How then, is a salesperson to BE the value?
It is a very powerful competency that is the byproduct of a salesperson’s ability to truly sell consultatively. For most salespeople, consultative selling is a vague concept for which 100 salespeople will provide 100 different definitions. It’s not consulting. It’s not identifying needs. It’s not asking a few questions prior to presenting or proposing.
When you use consultative selling to BE the value, you are listening, asking questions, and identifying personal, compelling reasons for your prospect to either make their first purchase from you, or move their existing business to you. It can be accomplished by pushing back on methods and approaches to problem solving, challenging old and outdated ways of thinking, and enlightening the prospect with valuable examples of how others have solved problems like theirs.
By its very nature, this form of consultative selling has been mastered by the elite 6% of all salespeople, is practiced less effectively by the next 20%, and is completely botched and destroyed by the bottom 74%. Even worse, many sales consultants, authors, trainers and coaches aren’t able to sell this way themselves and have little ability to train others.
This is how one differentiates. This is how one is able to BE the value. This is what causes prospects to say, “She gets it.” This is what causes prospects to take action and buy. This is what causes prospects to buy from you.