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What’s Your Value? Chew On This

Author: KLA Group CEO Kendra Lee

I love to bake. Every Sunday I make three batches of chocolate chip cookies for my family of three boys. Friends who stop by know the cookie jar will be full and ask to dip in. No kid or adult is immune, and they can never stop at just one.

  • Yum! These are good. Do you use real butter?
  • What kind of chocolate chips do you use?
  • How do you get them so soft?
  • I shouldn’t have another, but may I? Can I please have another?

Even though my homemade chocolate chip cookies are definitely not low fat, people eat two, three and four at a time – more than they ever intended, but what the heck? Their senses take over as the cookie melts away in their mouth. And their hesitation goes out the door.

Selling is a lot like baking. When you do it well, your clients want more. Prospects want to buy from you. Price isn’t as important as the value you provide.

Sell the Value of Your Relationship

Clients we work with tend to sell premium priced offerings. Even with all the value they provide, sales reps tend to fixate on price, especially when the price is higher than your competitors charge. The sales reps forget that a store-bought chocolate chip cookie has no comparison to a warm, gooey, chocolatey cookie fresh out of the oven served with a smile and good conversation.

Don’t focus on the price. Focus on the value of your relationship to your clients and what you provide as part of that relationship.

How do you sell the value of your relationship? It’s not in the traditional sales process sense you’re thinking. Nope. It’s all in how you maintain the relationship.

  • Make their job easier.
  • Check in on them even if you aren’t working a current opportunity.
  • Bring them new ideas to help them be more successful in their role.
  • Make recommendations you believe will best fit their businesses.
  • Always be willing to listen and brainstorm.
  • Don’t oversell what they don’t need.
  • Sell only solutions that will benefit their businesses.
  • Help them financially justify their investment.

As you take these steps, your clients will value your relationship and be willing to pay more for it. They will recognize how your relationship is helping their business, making their job easier, helping their employees be more successful and productive, reducing error rates, retaining their customers, adding incremental new customers, and much more.

Sell Value Over Price

Stop fixating on the price. If your price is 30% more, it may be a tough sell. Not impossible, but tough. That means your chocolate chip cookies need to be darned good. But if they are, yes, you’ll find clients who want that level of deliciousness for their business.

If your price is 10-15% more, showing value over price really isn’t hard.

Consider this. People buy Starbucks coffee every day instead of generic because they value the wide selection, taste and experience. They buy Krispy Kreme donuts instead of grocery store brands because they want the ooey, gooey sweetness of the fresh glaze and the soft texture of the donut.

Clients will buy your value, too.

While your clients’ budgets may say they should shop around, or they shouldn’t buy that extra service level, they will buy – and buy from you. They’ll do it because they feel confident in decisions you help them make. They value your consultative recommendations, advice, and observations. They can taste the success you’re helping them achieve melting in their mouth.

The memory of that success lingers, just like the memory of a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

Don’t Skimp on Value to Reduce the Price

In my opinion, if you’re going to take the time to make homemade cookies, you shouldn’t skimp on the ingredients to save calories or money. If you skimp, they’re no better than the packages or tubes you can buy at the store – and definitely not worth the effort to make or eat. Adults don’t see any reason to eat those cookies. Kids will pass them by; and they certainly aren’t going to recommend them to their friends.

The fact that I perfected my recipe over years, and don’t skimp on the ingredients or the time to make them, has my family not just satisfied but bragging. Friends are coming back for more. New friends are coming out of the woodwork.

Your value will linger, too. Don’t skimp on what your clients’ experience to reduce the price or grow profit margins. Rather, pile on the value and find different ways to save your margins.

Sell Value Over Price to Increase Referrals

Your clients will not only pay for your value but tell everyone they know about how pleased they are! Before you know it, you’ll have great testimonials for proposals, eager references, and referrals steadily coming in the door.

I was speaking with a client this week who actually apologized for spreading our name “all over the place!” He said he probably should have told me so I could prepare our team, but he’d been so busy he hadn’t had a moment. He’d sent referral contacts to look at our website, download an ebook and infographic, and listen to several videos. He hoped that was okay with me.

Okay? You bet it’s okay. That’s value as good as a homemade chocolate chip cookie! I’ll take four please.

When Prospects Won’t Pay Extra for Value

If sales prospects don’t recognize your value, you’re not selling or communicating it. Something in your sales process or marketing strategy isn’t working. If your clients don’t recognize your value, something in your client marketing, account management or delivery process isn’t working.

  • Change your marketing strategy to highlight and broadly communicate your value.
  • Review your sales process to ensure you’re reinforcing the value as part of sales conversations.
  • Monitor your sales reps to be sure they aren’t sabotaging their own opportunities with negative price discussions.
  • Evaluate your delivery process for issues clients are experiencing too frequently.

Stop thinking like a store-bought cookie and start acting like a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Your clients will appreciate that value and the price objections will go away.

If your lead generation strategy isn’t communicating your value to your prospects or clients, let us know. We can change that for you.


Kendra Lee is president of KLA Group, which works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Read more blogs from Kendra here.

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2 Comments

Comments

    Jim Barnet:

    Hi Kendra:
    Great article, love the chocolate chip cookie analogy. I think that some sales people confuse “value based selling” with “price per feature selling”. Some might think that if you have one more feature than your competition, then you can justify selling for one more dollar. But you’re still essentially just selling on price.

    My suggestion would be to focus on the impact your solution can have on the prospective customers business. Features only have value if they can impact a specific and important aspect of the clients business process, like improving billable utilization by 5%, or speeding up invoicing (and impacting cash flow) by 25%, or reducing unprofitable projects or repeated quoting mistakes by 75%.

    And then help your customers quantify the financial impact to their business of those better business outcomes. If you learn to do that well, you’ll significantly reduce price objections, even if you have lower priced competition. It makes sense when you do the math, because if your solution can for example improve billable labor utilization by 5%, that’s worth tens of thousands of dollars to your customers’ business, vs. what might be a few hundred or thousand dollars pricing difference between you and your competitions pricing.

    So the challenge becomes, how well do you tie what you do, to better customer business outcomes, and why your solution will positively impact those business outcomes more strongly than you competition, vs. price per feature/pound selling.

    P.S.: Walmart has created a very good business based on selling to customers looking for cheap/inexpensive products. But they don’t have much of a reputation for selling high quality/luxury items. Know your ideal customer and don’t be afraid to refer your non-ideal customers to your ‘Walmart’ competition, rather than trying to justify your higher price. Not all customers will value what you have equally. Focus on the ones that do.

    Regards,
    Jim Barnet
    Promys PSA
    Director Sales & Marketing
    Tel: 905-847-6539, ext. 2972
    Cell: 647-239-2942
    jbarnet@promys.com
    t: @PROMYS_PSA

    Kendra:

    Thanks for sharing, Jim!

    You make a very good point when you say demonstrating the tangible and quantifiable business impacts clients’ receive is very important. I completely agree that helping them financially justify their investment based on value distinguishes you as a salesperson. This includes communicating the overall, long-term value (or positive impacts) of their investment to their business. Being a close partner with and understanding your client — providing them that extra value — just lets you continue to help them experience positive impacts both from working with you as a salesperson AND your solutions. And of course, chocolate chip cookies are always an added value!

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