Peady’s Selling Engagement
Have you ever heard, or used, the phrase ‘value add’??
In the advertising and media world it’s our dirty little secret and it generally means you gave the customer something for free or heavily discounted your rates!
There is no doubt building and securing relationships with your key accounts plays a strategic role in growing your personal portfolio and there’s big plusses for the company too. But how do you add value in a subtle and highly effective way without discounting the hell out of your price?
Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.
Everyone is busy
Generally, those in business are time poor and seek relationships that add value and ‘cut to the chase’. They have no time for idle pleasantries and time-wasting product focussed salespeople. Great news for those who know how to bring real value to a relationship!
In sales, a relationship is both personal and professional, and ultimately built on trust. Trust takes time to build so relationship selling is ideally suited in an environment where ongoing sales are the aim. For your customer to let you build a relationship there must be a level of personal connection. They must see that you can add value to their role and their business.
They need to know you can help them solve problems, improve profits or create opportunities. They want to see you deliver solutions, not products; benefits, not features.
Relationship selling is about doing more listening than ‘selling’.
Value add ideas
So, what can you do to ‘add value’? Consider these 3 ideas:
- Regularly seek feedback. The first step in value-adding is to understand clearly what your customer really values. Each customer has his or her own perspective on it. Is it service? Perhaps education? Case studies in similar verticals? Reducing costs? Maybe, the price they pay. Until you know what they value, you can’t deliver!
- Create a customer advisory panel. This group should be small but representative of your customer base. Balance new business partners with customers who have been with your company long term. Seek their input on service, product and marketing decisions. Ask their advice on a broad range of issues and position them as your most trusted confidants.
- Host regular networking events. Those in business have a great interest in what others are doing across a whole range of activities. Networking events allow them to do it and when combined with a relevant guest speaker become very powerful. Note: Avoid the ‘sell’ at these events!
By making your best customers feel valued you can reduce churn and build strong ongoing opportunities for upsell. According to Gallup Research 68% of customers are lost because of indifference or perceived apathy, not because of mistakes.
And if you’d like to explore more value-add ideas there’s a great book on the subject written by Tom Reilly called Value-Added Selling. It provides a market-proven approach for selling customers on the inherent value of a product while de-emphasising price.
Maybe you might like to float a couple of these ideas at your next sales meeting? You never know they might just work!
Until next week, good selling.
About the author
Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.
He can be contacted at [email protected]