For our July Webinar, Mark Stiving, PhD, Chief Pricing Educator at Impact Pricing, shared insights into the buyer’s value discovery journey and how winning B2B sales organization use this to customize their sales approach in a way that buyers perceive more value and are more likely to purchase. After the session, he answered questions from the webinar audience. In this blog, we share part two of his live answers.
Some sales managers that say the customer doesn’t value some features as differentiators. Do you have suggestions on how to address such challenges?
Some customers don’t value some features as differentiators. The question becomes whether that’s a true statement or it’s not. If you’re talking to procurement, I can guarantee you they are saying those words to you. And it’s probably not true. If you’re talking to the decision committee and they say those words to you, it probably is true. But it may not be true in the sense that they don’t understand the value of the feature.
This is where we get to [the question of] what problem does that feature solve? I would go back to the value table that I showed you earlier and say that you have a feature. Why did you build that feature? What problem does it solve? What result do you think a client should expect to get? And if the client that you’re talking to doesn’t have the problem, then it has no value to them. And that’s totally okay. We’ve got other features that have value to them.
The whole purpose for this is for us to understand the list of places where there are problems that customers might have that we can solve, and that we can help deliver the results they might be looking for. And we’re using that information to pick and choose the ones that are important to our customers, and not everything that we do is important to every customer.
What is the best way to sell value when the buyer is in “which one” mode?
It’s actually going to be the exact same thing. Imagine a value table, but instead of saying, here’s the value of this feature, the value table shows the value of this differentiation. It’s pretty easy to do. We could have written the Hughes drill bit story in a different way. Instead of saying, “hey, it goes too slow,” I could have said, “my competition goes two feet per day,” and we can then say that the Hughes bit goes 12 feet per day. Therefore, I’m actually talking about the value of the differentiation.
It’s a fabulous question in the sense that when I’m in the “will I” conversation, it’s always about the value of solving the problem. When I’m in the “which one” conversation, it’s about the value of the problems I solve and the value of the problems that I solve better than my competitors solve. still value and, and it’s still business acumen, but we need to understand where we are relative to the competition and why that’s important to our customer.
What are some common areas of improvement that an average sales rep could make to facilitate a better value journey for the buyer?
Okay. I’m going to say one that is amazingly controversial. I mentioned this at the beginning – learn how your customers perceive value. I talk to hundreds and hundreds of people and almost nobody knows how their customers perceive value. It just shocks the heck out of me. If you as a salesperson can learn this, you will be hands down farther ahead than anybody else. Even if you didn’t use all the techniques and tools that I’m showing you, that LeveragePoint gives you, if you just understood value the way your customers understand value, you would be so far ahead. Without a doubt, that’s the number one thing. Go figure out what that value means to your customer!
By the way, here’s a quick aside, it is pretty common for me to start an engagement with a company. And I’ll say, “what are the things that your customer values?” We’ll write them down. And then we’ll go do a few calls to customers and say, “why did you buy this product?” And guess what? It’s never what they wrote down.