Freddie Marryat, Marketing Manager, EngageIQ
Do you care about helping your prospects, or are you just interested in making a sale?
Here’s a crazy idea: what if the former could facilitate the latter. That’s what value-based selling is all about, and it’s why it’s so effective.
We’re huge advocates of value-based selling. It’s what makes our inside sales reps so effective at booking appointments and we think this approach will help you sell more, too.
Whether you’ve just started in a value-based sales position or you’re looking to sharpen your consultative approach, these expert tips will help you improve.
What is Value-Based Selling
Value-based selling is all about helping buyers first and selling to them second. You are no longer a salesperson when you take a value-based approach. You are a consultant.
Instead of flogging your product by focusing on its features or the price, SDRs focus on understanding their prospect’s business problems so that they can position their product as the way to overcome them.
To succeed, SDRs will need to have knowledge of their industry that extends beyond the product they sell. Being able to discuss the industry in detail is key. You’ll need to be aware of exactly who your prospect is, the types of challenges they face and the other solutions available to them.
You will still need to sell your product or service, of course. But you’ll do so by communicating the value that it will bring to prospects based on the pain points you’ve discussed.
What Are the Benefits of Value-Based Selling
If it seems obvious that helping buyers is a more effective sales strategy than ramming your product down their throat, you’re right.
And the stats back it up, too.
Mike Schultz, President, RAIN Group, says the more you focus on value, the more successful your sales organisation will be. Studies by the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research have found:
- Sales leaders are three times more likely to bring new ideas to buyers
- Four out of five leading sales organisations say they focus on driving as much value possible for buyers
- Buyers say that a focus on value is the most influential factor in their purchase decisions
Statistics aside, value-based selling helps reps to overcome the most common sales objections. When done correctly, it won’t matter how much your product costs or what your competitors offer.
Pushback will be minimal or non-existent. Instead, prospects will willingly choose your product because they know it will deliver a significant return on their investment. Many customers will actually be willing to pay more for a product if they know for a fact that it will solve their problems.
Value-based selling can also lead to more deals and a shorter sales cycle. Prospects won’t want to waste time shopping around when they know their problems will be taken care of. You’re less likely to burn through a prospect database, too. The more deals you can get out of your prospect list, the less time you’ll have to spend building a new one.
5 Practical Tips for Value-Based Selling
By this point, you know what value-based selling is and why it’s an effective sales strategy. Now let’s look at how you can start implementing value-based selling strategies into your prospecting calls immediately.
Personalise Your Approach to Build Rapport
Buyers have a natural tendency to put up barricades when speaking to salespeople. They don’t want a sales pitch from a stranger. They certainly don’t want advice from someone they don’t know.
That’s why it’s so important to quickly build rapport when taking a value-based sales approach, writes David Jacoby, the managing director of Sales Readiness Group.
“When you have a strong relationship with a customer, you tend to have more influence with that customer,” he says. “That means the customer respects your experience and advice, they are more likely to value your contribution to the decision process, and there is a greater chance of such customer becoming a “long-term” customer.”
You also need to build trust, says Liston Witherill, the founder and creator of Serve Don’t Sell. “Trust is everything in value-based selling because your client must believe you when you help them determine the value you can provide.”
How do you quickly build trust and rapport? Through a thoughtful, knowledgeable and personalised outreach approach. The more you can demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to find out who they are and what they do, the more likely they’ll be to stay on the line.
Listen Carefully to Identify Pain Points
Value-based selling only works if you identify each of your prospects’ unique pain points. The easiest way to do that is to listen to what your prospects have to say.
For most reps, this will mean talking less. According to Gong’s Chris Orlob, the average sales rep spends up to three-quarters of the time talking and only one-quarter listening. But the best salespeople flip this stat on its head. They spend way more time listening than they do talking, which gives them more ammunition with which to make the sale.
Unfortunately, most prospects won’t spill their guts without a bit of prodding. That’s where those open-ended questions you learnt in sales training come in.
Marc Wayshakthe, founder of Sales Strategy Academy and the best-selling author of Game Plan Selling, recommends a list of ten value-based questions that include:
- What does that challenge cost your organisation?
- How does that affect you personally?
These are a great start. But don’t accept your prospect’s first answer without digging deeper. Sometimes prospects won’t be able to articulate their problems fully. Other times they won’t appreciate exactly how these problems are hurting their business. In both cases, you need to use your questions to help your prospects get there.
It will be tempting to tell your prospects about the problems they are having. Refrain from doing so at all costs!
“If the prospect cannot articulate the costs and consequences of the problem and the value of solving it, their chances of getting their organisation to agree to invest in any solution is remote – as are your chances of winning,” writes Bob Apollo a Fellow of the Association of Professional Sales and the founder of Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners.
“If you can’t navigate these waters you will never speak to your decision maker so the way you interact with them is critical”
Show How Your Product Solves Their Problems
The beauty of value-based selling is that there’s very little selling involved at all. If you understand the challenges your prospects face and how your product can help, it’s just a matter of showing them.
You’re not really selling at all when you take this approach, says motivational sales speaker Tony Morris. You’re helping prospects. If you can make this mind shift, you’ll never be nervous about selling again. After all, why should you be nervous about helping people?
In practice, you should spend little to no time discussing your product. Instead, keep relating everything back to the buyer’s pain points. Where possible, support what you are saying with case studies that show how your product has helped similar businesses overcome similar problems. Notice you’re still not talking about your product. You’re just talking about how you solved another company’s (very similar) pain points.
Don’t just take a company-focused approach. Discuss how your solution can personally benefit the buyer. Remember, while it’s the company buying your product, it’s a specific person signing the contract.
Focusing on the benefits to the person can be more powerful than the business value, says Julie Thomas, president and CEO of ValueSelling Associates. Your prospect cares about themselves as much as they care about the company. So talk about how you can make their job less stressful or make them more popular with their department.
Add Value During Every Interaction
It will take more than one call to book a meeting, which is why you should be using every interaction to add value to your prospects. The more value you can add, the more trust you will build and the stronger your relationship will be. All these factors can help increase the chances that your prospect converts eventually.
Find a way to help your prospect every time you speak to them. You could do this by sending them a resource, pointing them towards a relevant article or helping them to work through a pain point they’re facing. It doesn’t have to be business-related, either. Everyone loves free swag, free tickets or a free drink.
Focus on the Prospects Who Need Your Help
Value-based selling only works if you speak to prospects who actually have the problems your product solves. A highly targeted prospect list will go some way to achieving this. But it’s not perfect. Just because one bank has bought your product doesn’t mean everyone in the finance industry will.
That’s why dozens of inside sales teams use EngageIQ to find the decision-makers who are most likely to convert. Our purchase intent data means you’ll waste less time finding people to call and more time having valuable conversations with prospects who are actually interested in buying. In other words, you’ll focus your efforts on helping the prospects most likely to reward you with a sale.
Want to find out more? Tell your sales manager to book a demo today.