Conclusion of a Five Part Series.
Are you selling with great perspective but still find your sellers discounting to win opportunities? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Selling with perspective (or insight, sometimes challenging) wins revenue by uncovering value. In the right hands, that can deliver benefits all over your company. In the wrong hands though, it means producing unprofitable revenue: making your company work just as hard for less reward.
Throughout this series, I’ve discussed perspective, knowledge or insight that expands a customer’s understanding of one or more business issues. When a seller provides perspective, they apply customer-valued (not just any) insights and expertise about unanticipated outcomes. That might mean improving a decision, or achieving a previously unknown outcome.
Selling with perspective breaks sales professionals out of a death spiral. That spiral: “since salespeople don’t add value to my decision, I’m going to self-inform. Then, I’ll invite them to bid on my self-defined solution. As a result, they will have a hard time adding any value”. Using perspective selling to break out of the death spiral is critical. Great, even. It helps win more opportunities, which is critical.
The thing is, a great perspective seller is most of the way to being able win those same opportunities at much higher margins—combined with higher customer preference. Perspective selling while discounting iso close, yet so far.
I maintain that any company (including a non-profit, if you think about it) has the same fundamental mission — the core purpose of business:
Any company exists to generate higher customer value than it cost to deliver.
To recap, perspective selling allows sellers to uncover and develop additional value – the very essence of a successful business. Since value is the basis of price (OK, strike “is”. “should be the basis of price”), perspective sellers are perfectly positioned to sell value-based prices. They just need to take their game to the next level.
The Three Pillars/Legs of the Perspective Selling Stool… and Value.
Remember the three foundational “pillars” of expertise (or three legs of a stool) a seller should master:
- Business Acumen...This was the focus of part two. Basically, business expertise helps evaluate a prospective customer’s (or any company’s) operational efficiency and effectiveness, then identify value gaps.
- Solution Acumen. Feature/benefit selling is dead. As discussed in part three, solution expertise improves perspective selling by translating a product or service into results/outcomes for a prospective buyer.
- Customer Acumen…In part four, we described world-class customer acumen. It’s expertise in facilitating a group buying decision. At elite level, sellers incorporate decision criteria players from any (even unusual) role with a valued outcome connected to their solution.
The ingredients of selling a value-based price are all right there above…emphasized in boldface.
Perspective (plus insight selling, and to a lesser extent Challenger Selling) harnesses the most compelling buying process: causing a customer to visualize unrealized, desirable outcomes for themselves. Adding on, valuable outcomes are the foundation of priceable value. Finally, priceable value is the base of value-based pricing (Unfortunately, this isn’t as obvious as it should be. For proof, just look at how many dollars in discounts you gave out last year).
Can You Please Just Finish the Layup?
Done correctly, perspective selling is uncovers customer-valued outcomes throughout the entire selling process.
Unfortunately, most perspective selling doesn’t explicitly teach asking that one more question: “what will this outcome mean to you…monetarily”? The exact wording of that basic question varies depending on personal style and situation but could sound like:
- What is [this situation] costing you every [year/month/etc.]?
- It sounds like that [situation] is causing [other department/role] to spend [hours/dollars/resources] on [current work-around]. Can you tell me about that or get me in front of them to ask directly?
- I just saw this at another company. For them, [describe improved outcome], resulted in X% reduction in [risk/cost/waste/etc.] and a [savings/cost avoidance] of $Y. What kind of result do you think might be realistic in your situation?
- …you get the idea. Express the outcome as a result preceded by a [dollar/euro/yen/pound/yuan/rupee/etc.] sign.
Thankfully, this isn’t a “keep selling until you lose” situation. Perspective sellers uncover value early and often — way before the proposal/price negotiation stage. Remember, that’s the whole point of being an insight seller. It’s like great perspective sellers are leading a fast break with the basketball. They only need to finish the layup by helping the prospect monetize their already-expressed valued outcome.
The Three Pillars of Perspective Selling and Value Price Selling are the Same. They’re Just Used Differently.
Now, re-read the boldface text on the three pillars above. Next, go back and read the typical questions just above. Then, notice how the three pillars help a seller:
- Understand the cost impact on the customer’s business? (hint: business acumen, possibly solution acumen)
- Predict a secondary/related business result, (business acumen, solution acumen), then recruit a new buying influence with something to gain (customer acumen).
- Refer a prior success (solution acumen) into the current prospect’s situation (business acumen), then start one persona on the path to monetizing the problem in their own world (business, solution, and customer acumen).
- …you get the idea. It takes all three legs of the stool to support both perspective and value price selling.
Perspective selling carries your conversation widely and effectively around an organization. However, Value price selling can carry your conversation more effectively into the C-suite.
Perspective selling uncovers and clarifies value drivers. In contrast, Value selling monetizes drivers. Full Value Selling pushes sellers to monetize every single value driver they possibly can.
Perspective selling wins opportunities. Better still, Full Value selling builds so much monetary value for your solution that your higher price is a better bargain to the customer than the exact same proposal sold only with perspective.
Selling value is one of those areas where less is less.
More value is more price. Importantly, price is profit.
Your company exists to generate higher customer value than it cost to deliver.
If you aren’t happy with your current results, could it be because your sellers are trained — and compensated (that’s another blog post, or several careers) – to go after exactly the outcome you pointed them toward?
Contact me if you want to talk about it.
To your success!