How To Add Customer Value Throughout The Sales Funnel
A reader asked:
You already know value is in the eye of the beholder: It is what your prospect is interested in, what gets their attention, what they will pay for with their time, cooperation, and ultimately their money, and their testimonials and referrals.
Nobody wants to have to deal with a pushy, self-interested salesperson. The diagram to the left is a bit of a simplification, but you get the idea (click to expand).
Think back to a time when you had to solve a business problem that involved depending on an outside company. You probably knew what a hassle and a risk it could be.
You may not have consciously identified the things you were looking for, but chances are they included such things as:
Useful information about the problem and it’s causes (some was likely provided by one of the companies you ultimately considered).
Clear, simple evaluation of alternative approaches of solving the problem
Honest pros and cons related to your specific situation
Assistance communicating issues relevant to other stakeholders in your organization
The right amount of information about what would be required to achieve your objectives
Credibility of being a solid supplier who will be around to help in the future.
Everything that happens between buyers and sellers depends on the context. Sellers who understand the buyer’s point of view have an advantage, if they use that knowledge effectively. Anything the buyer perceives, from your positioning, your product, you salesperson, your offer or guarantees, anything is fair game for improving the value perceived by the buyer. Here is an example from ASEPCO, a manufacturer of sanitary valves:
Lifetime Free Replacement of Any Broken ASEPCO Tank Value – No Matter Who Broke It!
Top Quality Product or It’s Free!
Performance as Promised, or We Pay You!
As another example, I had a client that competed in the market for medical respirators, the machines hospitals use to help critically ill patients who cannot breathe on their own. Rather than employing professional salespeople in its sales force, they exclusively hired experienced clinicians and taught them how to be salespeople. As a result, their customers perceived a greater value in dealing with them.
The keys are finding underserved markets, using words and phrases that are already going on within a prospect’s head, and matching their need with your message, and delivering on the promises. Whether this takes place through advertising and promotion, trained and disciplined distribution channels or salespeople, the Internet, or even service and support, the issue is the same. If you can get more of the right people to take the steps of their customer journey with you, you will win more business. And the way to do that is to do what they perceive as value. The measurement is whether or not they take the actions you’d like them to take.
So, that is one way to answer your question. Let me know what you think.