Following on from the post on The Greater Perspective, I wanted to talk briefly about the value of Value.
So often in life, both personal and business, we are either buying or selling something. Whether we are the potential buyer or the eager sales person, one thing remains constant – there needs to be value. Now, I’m not necessarily speaking purely about a monetary value. I’m talking about something actually tangible. In some cases, that may indeed be monetary, but rarely.
How often have you bought something when it was more expensive than a competing product that also fulfilled your requirements?
Why did you do so?
Was it a value add?
Was it your rapport with the sales person?
Was it the ease of the sale?
There are so many reasons, and often its rooted in our behavioural and personality types as well as our gender. People almost always try and justify decisions through logic, where the reality is almost all decision making is emotional.
I heard a well known body language expert once talk about the difference between men and women when they shop. Both in how they shop as an act, and also in how they justify their purchase. Women often go through the emotional cycle prior to the purchase, whereas men typically experience post purchase emotional justification. Often this is tied to purchase rationalisation, or Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome and buyer’s remorse.
There’s the old adage, which is so true, that if you walk out of a purchase feeling like you’ve been sold, then you probably were. If you walk out feeling happy, then the salesperson was probably actually good at their job.
There is a series of sales training from Todd Duncan, where he details his buying experience with mountain bikes. You’ll need to get the CDs to hear the entire story, but he talks about how he not only spent significantly more than he intended to, felt good about it, rarely uses the bike, but has been back many times to purchase bikes for the rest of his family. Interesting, but you’ll need to get the CDs 🙂
Specifically, customers don’t sit at home thinking about how much cheaper your widget was than your competitors, or that it has function XYZ, or that its 14% faster. What they do care about it real value. What is real value? Well, you won’t know until you ask.
So many sales people make the rookie mistake of jumping in with a solution as soon as a prospective customer vocalises a pain point or need. Often, the initial pain isn’t the real pain. Steve Shapiro talks about “peeling the onion” in his CD, “Listening for Success.” Ask your customer questions, get to know what they really want and need.
How real is that pain?
What impact does it have on the customer?
Only when you fully understand the other person’s need will you be in a position to offer a possible solution. And very importantly, if you don’t have a solution, don’t offer one simply to make a sale.
Inexperienced or bad salespeople will never recommend their competition. Good salespeople will.
Obviously, you only do this in the event that you are unable to solve a customer’s problem and your competitor can. This simple act of unselfishness will almost always return to you 10 fold.
Whether your the prospective buyer or the potential salesperson – you need to know your need and be able to articulate it clearly. Only then will you be able to determine the true value. Good salespeople don’t run at customers without knowing what they truly value. Sadly, most salespeople aren’t good.
When you know and understand your customer’s real pain and needs, articulating value is easy.
Often when working with new salespeople, I try and explain why I don’t like to talk about price. Its not that I’m scared to mention dollars or ask for money, but that I really don’t see that its all that relevant. If your solution solves the customers problem, then the price doesn’t matter. If your solution doesn’t solve the customer’s problem, then the price doesn’t matter.
People don’t care about price, they care about value.