Follow Up from July 2013 Webinar with Tim Rowlands and Greg Wagner
In Wednesday’s webinar, “How To Capture Value With Demanding Customers,” Tim Rowlands of Edgeworth Inc. and Greg Wagner of ValuEngager joined us to share how to execute on value propositions in the field. At the conclusion of the webinar, the audience posed some terrific questions, which we have split into two parts. See below for Part I, featuring answers from both Tim and Greg. Part II and the link to the recording will be posted next week.
Q: How do you determine and identify customers who make the best value partners?
Greg: It takes work, and you need to ask a lot of questions. As I’ve gone through this process several times, I’ve found that when I ask a salesperson if he thinks he can value sell a particular customer he’ll say, “No,” and then come back and say, “Yes.” And then there are some instances when he’ll say that he can, but he really can’t. So you need to start down the path with each and every customer to see if you can find a fit. A lot of times the buyer will buy on price, but if you can get to a C-level and explain the savings in dollars, all of a sudden doors start opening and they become a value buyer. So you need to be talking to the right people to make that determination, and you need to do some work on the front end to bring an advantage that’s been dollarized in terms of value to the customer’s income.
Tim: That’s exactly right. What I would add to that is to let the customer make the decision. I take the pressure off folks going through value sell training by saying, “This is about helping the customer improve his or her business, and invite them to do that. Let them know sincerely and honestly that you intend to put your company’s resources to work to help them improve their profitability. If you can get in front of the right people, and help them make some money, then let them decide.” If they want to be treated like commodity buyers, we may not be able to change that.
Q: How do you get buy-in from traditional buyers and move customers from price to value?
Greg: First you have to dollarize the value, and it has to be believable. You need to sit down and do the work necessary to demonstrate what you will bring to the customer’s balance sheet if he or she buys from you versus your competitor. It’s basically a dollarized value proposition. Once you’ve done that, then the second step is getting to the right people. A lot of times purchasing is not the right audience because they are compensated for getting a lower price instead of earnings per share of the corporation. If you can get to the C-level individual and save them half a million dollars, you will get the audience you need to drive it down into the system. There’s nobody out there who can’t be value sold if you get to the right people with the right message, because everybody is in this for the same thing, which is earnings per share. So, if you can do something to improve the income statement or balance sheet to increase that, you should be able to beat your competition. It’s just a matter of how long it takes to get you through the hurdles.
Q: What are the personality characteristics of world class value sellers?
Tim: You need folks who don’t mind managing an account. There’s a set of selection criteria you can get into that will allow you to understand a person’s DNA, but you also want to inject that DNA with a hunter mentality. It’s someone who wants to manage and grow an account as a partner, but also who’s aggressive enough to look for opportunities for improvement.
Greg: And sometimes that’s hard to quantify during the interview process, or when you’re just assessing your existing sales force, but there are tools that we use to completely assess a person’s capabilities. There are assessment tests that you can give them to map out their DNA so you can position them to be successful in various parts of the value selling process.