Value based selling: Use the right process, techniques + questions
Value based selling allows sales reps to build trust with their prospects—and trust is foundational to modern sales. If you don't establish yourself as a trustworthy individual, your prospects are less likely to do business with you. It's that simple.
Fortunately, the value based sales process isn't rocket science. You'll need to work hard to master it. But if you follow the tips and tricks I outline in this article, you will succeed.
Sound good? Then keep reading to learn:
- What is value based selling?
- 7 key pieces of the value based sales process
- Doing discovery? Ask these value based selling questions
- Value based selling training: resources to learn more
What is value based selling?
Value based selling prioritizes customer needs over everything else—even closing deals and making quota.
If you sell project management software, for example, you'd first want to talk to your prospects to see why they're interested in the kind of solution you sell. You might learn that they aren't happy with their current productivity levels and need a tool to assist them in this area.
Armed with this information, you'd then base your sales pitch on the amount of time your solution saves customers, rather than the fact that your tool displays projects in multiple ways.
To be honest, value based selling is more labor-intensive, but the benefits are clear: this sales process helps sales professionals build trust with prospects, which, in turn, can help them close bigger, better deals in the future, as well as retain customers for longer periods of time.
Sounds pretty great, right? You're not the only one who thinks so. New research shows that 87% of high-growth companies have implemented a value selling methodology.
7 key pieces of the value based sales process
Your prospects are bombarded with sales messages. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry wants to sell them something, it seems, which is why many people avoid sales reps if they can.
Value based selling techniques flip the script and turn "sell at all costs" salespeople into reliable consultants who care about prospects and constantly look to serve them.
Once you adopt this approach, your sales numbers will soar. Here's how to make it happen:
1. Understand your USP
Your unique selling proposition, USP for short, is something that differentiates your company from the competition in a meaningful way. It could be a reputation for quality products. Or a killer warranty. Or the promise to help potential customers do [insert thing] better.
Here's the deal: you need to know your company's USP like the back of your hand. That way you can articulate the ways in which you provide value to prospects.
If you don't know your company's USP, study the products/services you sell. What's so special about them? Why should someone invest in your offerings instead of a competitor's? What's the one thing that distinguishes your company from every other brand out there?
Before you implement a value based sales process, you must have a solid understanding of your company's USP. It's absolutely essential, so don't skip it!
2. Research your prospects
Did you take time to pinpoint your USP? Great, now it's time to research your prospects.
Remember, success with value based sales requires you to put your customer's needs above your own. You can't do this unless you understand what those needs are.
Look to uncover the following bits of information during the research process:
- Current role and previous experience: Log in to LinkedIn to see when your prospect began their current role and the positions they held in the past. Their level of experience will help you determine how you can best serve them.
- Common connections you may have: Do you know any of the same people as your prospect? If so, you may be able to build trust with them faster. You can also approach your mutual contact and ask for information regarding your prospect's needs.
- The kind of content they share on socials: Next, look to see if your prospect has a public Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter profile. Then study the content they've been sharing. This will tell you what's been on their mind lately.
- Information about their company: You should research your prospect's company, too. Has there been a leadership change? Have they released any new products? What about publicity? A quick website search should reveal these details.
- Data about them in your company's CRM: Finally, scan through your CRM of choice to see if anyone in your company has talked to this person in the past. The last thing you want to do is rehash old information, which will only serve to waste time.
Always research your prospects before you get on the phone with them. That way you can add value from the very first conversation you have with them.
3. Actively listen to your leads
If you're serious about the value selling methodology, you'll research your prospects before you talk to them on the phone (see above.) Just be careful!
Advanced knowledge, while incredibly important, can make sales reps feel like they already know their prospect's needs. As such, they'll often jump right into their sales pitch without giving prospects time to speak. This is a HUGE mistake for two reasons:
- It makes the sales process about you. Value based selling should always be about the prospect. One of the easiest ways to make this happen is to let prospects talk.
- Your research might not be 100% accurate. Your prospect might share a bunch of cat videos on Facebook. That doesn't necessarily mean they love cats. Give your prospects the floor so that you know exactly what their problems are.
Get your prospects on the phone and then listen to them. Let them tell you about their current situation and the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. Doing so will help them trust you more. It will also give you a deeper understanding of how you can add value.
4. Focus on education, not sales
As mentioned above, value based selling is effective because it turns sales reps into reliable consultants. To achieve this, focus on teaching prospects rather than selling to them.
You can do this in a number of ways…
- Suggest ways to overcome specific challenges: What problem(s) is your prospect dealing with? Using your expertise, recommend ways to fix these issues.
- Share how others solved similar problems: How have others overcome the challenges your prospect is working through? Share details about these situations.
- Teach about the latest industry changes/trends: What's happening in your industry and how does it relate to your prospect? Educate them on new trends and important changes so that they're as prepared for the future as possible.
Ideally, the solution to your prospect's problem will be the product and/or service you sell. By taking an educational approach to sales, however, your interactions with prospects will feel more like teaching experiences than sales pitches, which will help you earn their trust.
5. Make your sales pitch relevant
Your product does a dozen different things and is capable of solving a wide range of problems. Your prospects only care about the problems they've personally experienced.
To properly implement the value based selling methodology, you need to make the sales pitch relevant to each prospect, which means focusing on product and/or service features they care about, i.e. the ones that will help them overcome immediate challenges.
One of the best ways to make your sales pitches relevant is to always answer the question, "So what?". Prospects don't need to know that your product does X, Y, and Z. They need to know how your product will improve their current situation.
If a specific feature isn't relevant to a prospect, don't mention it during the sales process. This can be difficult to do, especially if the irrelevant feature is a competitive advantage. But talking about it won't help your prospects, so it has no place in value based sales.
6. Take a personable approach
A personable approach is one of the key value based selling principles.
Pay attention to your demeanor and tone of voice while interacting with prospects. Are you perceived as friendly? Here are a few ways to make sure that you are:
- Speak like you're talking to a friend: Prospects should feel comfortable when they talk to you. If they don't, you'll never become a trusted advisor and find success with value based sales. An easy way to put prospects at ease is to talk to them in a conversational tone, as if you were talking to a close friend.
- Ask prospects open-ended questions: We'll talk more about open-ended questions in the next section. For now, just know that an open-ended question is one that can't be answered with a simple yes or no. Asking prospects these kinds of questions will make them feel like you actually care about them and their success.
- Engage in small talk when appropriate: Some people despise small talk. "Why would anyone want to waste time on meaningless chit-chat?" they wonder. Because small talk is a great way to build rapport with prospects and will make you seem more personable. So don't be afraid to ask prospects about their professional interests, events they're planning to attend in the near future, and similar topics.
7. Always look to add value
Finally, make sure that every interaction you have with prospects adds value.
You can do this by simply listening to their problems. Or sending them helpful articles. Or suggesting specific solutions that will help them overcome their current challenges.
You can also do it by highlighting one of these four important value points:
- Money made: CRM software. for example, helps sales reps keep track of their leads. When they have access to this information, they can guide prospects to the right products and/or services, increasing the likelihood of a sale. Show how your offerings help customers put more green in their pockets.
- Money saved: Productivity software, on the other hand, saves teams time. Since time is money, this kind of tool can help users keep more of the cash they've worked so hard to make. Show how your offerings help customers win back revenue.
- Risk reduced: Maybe your product/service helps customers minimize risk. Business consulting services are a good example of this. By teaching companies how to accomplish certain things the right way, consultants ensure said companies avoid potential loss. Show how your offerings reduce risk.
- Qualitative value: Sometimes a product or service will provide value that can't be backed up by cold, hard numbers. Customer survey software, for instance, doesn't always translate into money made or saved. But the insights gleaned from it can propel a company forward. Share anecdotes that speak to quantitative value.
Different prospects find different things more valuable than others. Your job during the value based sales process is to pinpoint the things your prospects find valuable, and provide them.
Doing discovery? Ask these value based selling questions
When it comes to discovery, open-ended sales questions work best.
As mentioned earlier, an open-ended question is one that can't be answered with a simple yes or no. Because of this, open-ended questions give prospects space to talk, which makes them feel valued. They also give sales professionals deeper insights.
Here are four open-ended, value based selling questions to ask your prospects:
What does success look like to you?
You can't add value until you understand your prospect's end goal.
Asking, "What does success look like to you?" will give you a solid understanding of what they're trying to achieve, which will show you how the products you sell can help.
This question is also fun to answer—who doesn't like talking about their ultimate success? Giving prospects a chance to expound on this topic will build rapport.
What's keeping you from achieving your goals?
Customers make purchases to solve problems.
Asking "What's keeping you from achieving your goals?" cuts to the heart of this issue. The answers you get back will tell you how to proceed with your value based sales approach.
Let's pretend, for example, that a prospect came to Close and said, "My revenue is down and I don't know if I'll be able to pay the bills next month. I need to boost sales ASAP!"
Now that we know their main pain point, we know how to add value to the sales process. In this situation, we'd say something like, "Close gives you the ability to automate repetitive sales tasks and eliminates data entry, so you can get ramped up and selling faster."
Have you done anything in the past to solve this problem?
Failed solutions aren't valuable.
Before you suggest a specific course of action, ask your prospects, "Have you done anything in the past to solve this problem?" That way you can learn what hasn't worked for them.
Armed with this information, you can suggest new ideas that will, hopefully, prove successful. You can also differentiate your products and/or services by explaining how your solutions are better suited to your prospect's current situation than the ones they tried in the past.
What will happen if you don't solve this problem for your company?
Your prospects know they have a problem. That's why they agreed to talk to you. But do they realize the ways in which this problem will affect their business down the road?
Asking, "What will happen if you don't solve this problem for your company?" catapults prospects into the future and makes them really consider the negative effects of whatever issue they're dealing with. This will often motivate them to act now.
You can also flip this value based selling question around and ask, "If this problem was solved today, how would it impact your business?" which forces prospects to think about the benefits they'll achieve once they find the right solution and overcome their challenges.
Value based selling training: resources to learn more
Value based sales is effective, but it isn't easy.
Fortunately, there are many resources to help you get the hang of it. Invest in one of the following courses to master the value based sales methodology and close more deals.
The ValueSelling Framework
The ValueSelling Framework is a proven formula for accelerating sales results and promises to help you realize higher productivity and upskill your entire organization.
How does it do this? It teaches students conversational techniques that they can use to communicate the value of their products and services. The best part is, the knowledge shared from the value selling methodology is designed to fit into existing sales routines.
Consider investing in this class if you want information about properly qualifying prospects, preparing for sales calls, asking the right questions at the right times, differentiating products and services from competitors, and increasing your credibility as a sales rep.
eValueSelling Online Sales Training
Looking to build a solid foundation in value based selling techniques? You may want to invest in the eValueSelling Online Sales Training course from Visualize.
Once you start implementing the tips, tricks, and ideas in the material, you'll be able to diagnose your prospect's business issues, connect your company's solution to said issues, and develop a value proposition that motivates prospects to make purchases.
You'll also learn how to get access to final decision-makers, establish credibility during sales calls, differentiate your organization from competitors, shorten sales cycles, and more.
Sales Training: Value Based Selling
Maybe you're still on the fence about value based selling. In that case, why not invest in a more affordable course, like Sales Training: Value Based Selling on Udemy?
The class normally sells for $84.99, but can often be had for much cheaper, as with many courses on Udemy. Once inside, you'll have access to one hour of video content, 11 articles, and eight downloadable resources.
Is this course as in-depth and complete as the two mentioned above? No. Will it introduce you to value based sales without asking you to fork over your life savings? Absolutely.
Win with a value based sales approach
Value based sales is an effective strategy. Once you master it, you'll be able to earn prospects' trust in less time, close deals at a more consistent clip, and reduce customer turnover.
We won't tell you it's easy (it's not.) But if you implement the value based selling training in this article, you will get better at this unique approach to sales.
Looking for an easier way to supercharge sales for your company? Get Close, the all-in-one CRM for growing sales teams. Start your 14-day trial today to see if it's the right tool for you.