Becoming a total solution provider means everybody has a role to play in the process. It’s about finding the customers’ pain. What are the real rules of engagement with the customer?
Make no mistake: The customer sets those rules and it’s really not about what you are selling. It’s about what the customer is buying. Let me put it in perspective using an analogy from Tom Winninger, who is often referred to as America’s leading marketing strategist.
Tom says, “Think about BMW. They don’t sell cars ― you buy a driving experience.”
“Kodak doesn’t sell film. You buy magic moments ― memories.”
“Hertz doesn’t rent you cars. They get you out of the airport faster.”
That’s their value proposition ― what is yours? You have to figure out what the customer is really buying. Understand the following simple concepts:
value drives customer expectations."
"Performance value drives customer satisfaction."
Be careful. If you raise expectations too high and can’t perform, you can shoot yourself in the foot.
Perceived value varies. It can mean different things to different customers. It depends on what that customer is really buying. It relates to value added and what is in it for the customer. Value added must become not only a common term but it must become engrained in your sales culture. Every decision you make should consider the question: What’s in it for my customer (WIIFTC)? This is the baseline for your value propositions. It’s part of the psychology of selling. It’s part of acting like Dr. Phil.
How Do You Sell Your Value Proposition?The first step is to really understand and define your value propositions. Remember, your company and your products have value propositions and you personally have value propositions in your relationship with the customer. In defining your value propositions you must maintain your customer at the center of attention and define value in relationship to them.
Next, separate selling from problem solving. Take all of your industry experience and knowledge to understand the customers’ needs. Present alternative solutions.
Clarify your value propositions in terms of WIIFTC and let the customer decide.
Think like Dr. Phil
Apply your knowledge and experience to the customers’ pain as if their company was your company. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are ready for and committed to success.
- Are you fully educated on the difference between price and cost? What makes the low price the high cost?
- How committed are you to your industry?
- How well do you know your customers’ objectives?
- How adept are you at identifying pain?
- Are you more concerned with your employer’s success than their own? Your customers’ success?
- How well do you accept personal responsibility for failures?
- Do you know the five largest customers of your customers’ five largest customers?
- What are the 3 largest sources of pain in your customers’ lives?
- What are your customers’ key profit and growth drivers?
- What are you doing with that knowledge?
- How would the customers describe your efforts to improve their business?
Focus Has ChangedYour focus must now be on planning for the development of customers and increased penetration of current high potential customers. The main responsibility of the salesperson isNOT TO INCREASE SALES, but to systematically and consistently increase the number of customers that call youSupplier of Choice(SOC). If you truly practice becoming a total solution provider for your customers, can validate and sell your value propositions, if you can find their pain and make it go away, you will become their SOC. That means you'll always get the first call and the last look. It starts by acting like Dr. Phil and searching for their pain.
'A' Player Results And HabitsProfessional salespeople are always striving for improvement. They gain the majority of their targeted customers' business. They increase market share. Transactions flow through a well-managed relationship that they have established. Their time is focused on growth rather than transactional service.
Professional salespeople constantly seek to enhance their selling skills and the knowledge base of the industry they serve. They no longer focus only on product knowledge. They focus on their customers' needs and industry knowledge. They have fine-tuned the basic habits of success:
- Prospecting within the account for growth potential
- Using a professionally prepared sales presentation
- Efficient time control
- Continuous development of their industry knowledge
Act like Dr. Phil and find the pain and make it go away, even if it has nothing to do with your product. It’s about being a total solution provider. Today’s formula works because it creates competitive advantage. It is the secret to success for the “Sales force of the future.”