Being memorable matters! You work far too hard and put in way too many hours to be easily forgotten. You don’t want to be part of the ho-hum background noise in other peoples’ days. You’re better than that. You have more to offer than that. And it’s time you made some simple changes to how you present yourself so the impression you make is a lasting one. That’s what this 12-part series is all about. You: being memorable. Your buyers: remembering you when it’s time to buy, to renew, or to make a recommendation/referral to others in their networks. Each installment in this series shows you how to be a memorable salesperson.
Created value is not the same as added value. The expectations are greater than they used to be, driven by demanding buyers who are looking for something unique, personalized, relevant, and meaningful.
Added value is expected in the course of regular business. It is no longer a differentiator since everyone adds value in some fashion, through buyer incentives, no-cost add-ons, loyalty programs, and giveaways. Added value involves taking something with value and adding it on for the buyer.
Buyer demand for value creation has come about through a trickle-down effect. Companies began focusing on value creation to meet shareholder demands as competition escalated for many industries in the 1970s and 1980s. Now, 30-40 years later, consumers have followed this same pattern of wanting more, and they want it to come directly from their sellers.
What makes this challenging for sellers is buyers don’t directly ask for value creation. Most buyers don’t even think in those terms. All they know is they want a little something more, something different from what everybody else is already getting.
Take a look at this table from DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected to better understand the differences between value, added value and created value. Give yourself and your company a quick evaluation -- what value are you delivering and which type of value could you increase?
With each buyer, consider the question "What is value creation going to mean for this unique buyer at this moment in time?" This is how you'll begin to create value and deliver it with a meaningful and relevant experience for your buyer.
Created value happens in human-to-human exchanges. It’s not pre-fab, manufactured, one-size-fits-all, or plug-and-play. It’s special, unique to the individual buyer. That’s why it’s memorable.
To create value, you must first know what would be of value to an individual buyer. In the CONNECT2Sell Blog we routinely cover topics related to learning about a buyer’s needs, interests, and motivators. It all starts with asking purposeful, high-quality questions. It’s a bit like needs assessment (the discovery process) except that you’re not looking for needs related to your product. You’re looking for individual preferences and “hot buttons.”
Once you know what will be valued, you’ll find a way to bring that unique value to the buyer. Here are some examples of created value, observed recently while conducting in-field sales coaching:
The seller had a history in Girl Scouts and knew cookie-selling season was about to begin. She requested that the prospect bring 5 boxes of Thin Mints to the meeting so she could buy them for her office. And she also offered to do a mini sales-training for the leader’s group to launch their cookie-selling season.
The seller invested 90 minutes in preparing and conducting that training, and she spent $25 on cookies. In return, she got the meeting she’d been working more than a year to secure. And, within 3 months, she also won the business (worth $1.2 million at signing).
He said “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but you’re reminding me of what I feel like when I’m under a lot of pressure to meet goal. Why don’t you tell me about that pressure.” It was like a dam burst, with a torrent of emotions and information coming from the prospect. At the end of it, he says “Guess I really needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening.”
The seller invested five minutes in listening (all the while gathering useful information, too). He said it was emotionally draining for him, too, but that he sensed a strong bond had formed with the buyer. Sure enough, the prospect took his next call and they’ve been collaborating for weeks now to craft the full-scale solution to address the performance gaps in that buyer’s department.
It was a proactive move to get ahead of any potential dissatisfaction or concerns before renewal time. She asked one long-time customer “What would you like me to be doing differently to support you?” The customer paused, blinked twice, sighed, and then reached into her desk and pulled out a folder. She thanked the seller for asking and then shared a list of complaints. She had been getting some pressure to go a different direction, and she’d been preparing a list of pros/cons for moving to another vendor.
This seller invested just seconds in asking a vulnerable question. Had she not asked, she never would have known that trouble was brewing. The buyer would not have shared this information until a decision had already been made and, potentially, the business had already been lost. Instead, the seller was able to address the problems before renewal time. What’s more, she created value by bringing this to the forefront. It was a relief to the buyer who didn’t feel comfortable opening the candid conversation.
These examples are among the more dramatic ones. You can also create value in an instant just by asking a thought-provoking question, listening with empathy, offering insights, and collaborating with buyers to brainstorm for new ideas.
When you create value, the value is memorable and you are, too.
If you’ve never studied value selling, that’s a good place to start. On The Sales Experts Channel, you’ll find hundreds of webinars from dozens of global sales experts. Check out the archives for on-demand presentations – they’re all free, and there are numerous ones that explore value.
You may also want to read Value Propositions that Sell by Lisa Dennis or Conversations that Sell by Nancy Bleeke. Both will help you think from the customer’s perspective so you can have a better sense of what will be of value to them.
And don’t forget to work on additional ways you can become more memorable, too.
Whatever you decide to do, make a commitment to become more memorable. Standing out in a crowded sea of sellers is a surefire strategy for boosting your sales success.