This coming Monday as you leave the house to make your 1st sales call plan on selling “Customer Value” instead of your product…..just put your product away and see if you can drive “Value” to your customer. Now, I’m sure many of you if not all of you are saying how in the heck do you sell “Customer Value” (an abstract cliché) without a tangible product to reinforce this value……easy just connect with your customers. “I read this blog and this idiot recommended I sell “Customer Value” instead of my product” (haha!!). Look I certainly understand the importance of selling your product heck that’s what you’re paid to do, however, I’m the type who will try things that somewhat deviate from the norm just to make things a bit more interesting…..my unconventional ways you might say. I fortunately/humbly enjoyed a great deal of success both as an individual sales contributor and sales leader because I took an unusual amount of time to just “Listen” and connect with my customers….and salespeople who reported to me (yes bestowing “Leadership” based on bringing “Value” to my employees was paramount to my success). While many will argue that you just don’t have the time to cajole customers you’ll find if you take this methodical approach customers will inevitably sell YOU to sell them. An example I have of this is when I was a hospital sales representative in the Pharmaceutical Industry and I was having a tough time trying to get one of our leading products on formulary at the University of Michigan Medical Center. During the entire what seemed to be a 50 year ordeal (really about 4 months), I decided to have lunch with one of the key players on the Pharmacy & Therapeutics team responsible for selecting products for formulary addition. I spent the entire lunch getting an understanding of what they do…..yes, the basis for the lunch was to learn and receive an education on what they do versus selling them on why my product deserves to be on formulary. You can say I had a “Lunch Preceptorship” with this particular customer. At the end of our lunch the customer gave me advice and basically an instruction sheet on how to get our product on formulary and not just at University of Michigan Medical Center but the Veterans Administration building across the street as well…..just because my entire attention was directed towards them.
Moral of this story is that we are all internally selfish human beings who exult someone taking the time to get to know us on a personal level, that’s the “Value” I’m speaking too. The sales business is no different than “Life” ……listening and connecting with your customers like you do with your friends or family members brings a sense of “integrity” and “trust” to the interaction and thus “Customer Value”.
Checkout out this presentation I put together that looks at the specific steps of selling “Customer Value”, you’ll find some of the steps are “common sense”…..but ask yourself how often are you implementing these steps with your customers on a regular basis???
Thanks for checking out my blog!