We all operate in competitive marketplaces where there’s been an influx in competitors – you could be competing against two, three, four, five, six competitors on every deal. At the end of the day, customers get information overload and look out on the field of competitors only to see that everybody looks alike. So the question is – how do you differentiate, or how do you rise above the competition?
Customers want be able to make purchase decisions more quickly. Research by IDC in 2013 shows that customers want to be able to make decisions up to 40% faster. There are really two objectives you need to keep in mind that the customer is trying to achieve when they are evaluating products and services for purchase. They have their business objective which is the return on investment they want to receive from the investment in your product or service. They also have a buying objective: they want to quickly gather information they need to make good decisions with the least consumption of their internal resources. As a seller, you need to be able to satisfy both objectives – the business objective and the buying objective – if you want to have a good opportunity to win their business.
Customers want to deal with sellers that can deliver value to them by providing knowledge and expertise that can help them make a better decision. They just don’t want sellers that are informative. They want sellers that can help educate them. They want sellers that have some sort of expertise and business acumen. The Gartner Group did a research study back in 2013 that showed that by factor, more than 2:1 customers in the IT space (people on the receiving end of complex sales or some complex buying process) prefer to deal with technical experts, business experts, domain experts versus salespeople, because they didn’t feel that the salespeople could deliver the value that helped them get their job done. The capability to be able to deliver value through your selling process is really an essential part of any strategy you have to win.
“Getting information pushes at the two constraints everyone faces: it takes time and costs money. Making sound decisions fast and at a low cost is a competitive advantage everywhere.”
– Geoffrey Colvin, Talent is Overrated
The keywords are “competitive advantage” – the ability to make quick, good decisions is a tangible value to companies. They see the competitive advantage as being able to evaluate products and services for purchase and to deploy those in the field more quickly. If they can make a decision in three months that might have taken six months before, well that’s three extra months of value they get from the investment they make in your product or service. The key to helping them make that decision falls to the sellers in how you deliver value through your selling process.
Note: This post is adapted from Andy Paul’s webinar, Value Strategies to Build Trust with Buyers and Close Deals. To see the full webinar, or to download the slides, please click here.
About the Author: Andy Paul, the CEO and Founder of Zero-Time Selling®, is the leading expert on selling with speed. With more than 30 years in the sales business as a successful sales professional and sales vice president in companies ranging from raw startups to Fortune 1000, Andy is a frequently sought-after speaker, executive sales coach and sales process consultant. Andy is also the author of the award-winning book, Zero-Time Selling™: 10 Essential Steps to Accelerate Every Company’s Sales and Amp Up Your Sales: Powerful Strategies That Move Customers To Make Fast, Favorable Decisions.