Although enhancing your sales efforts with real-time messaging will increase the number of conversations you have with prospects, technology alone won't guarantee that these conversations will result in new clients. After all, success lies not only in knowing to use proper tools but also in using them right. As a salesperson interested in adopting a value-based approach to selling you need to also work on your conversational skills.
To summarise the demands of a potential customer, build rapport, and establish mutual understanding you need to express your ability to understand and empathise with the feelings of the person you're talking to. Doing that will help you to move the sales conversation further, but you'll never be able to close the deal unless you can present clearly how valuable your offering is to an individual buyer.
What's Value-Based Selling?
Value-based selling is a sales concept that emphasises how the product or service's features will give value to the prospect. It connects specific buyer needs back to potential solution suggestions. It's a customer-centric approach, focusing on giving the client a better sales process and a higher chance of crossing the finish line throughout the whole sales cycle, from the first encounter to closing.
Why is Value-Based Selling Important?
Value-based selling is based on trust between the buyer and seller. It increases the chances for the salesperson to be perceived as an adviser and not an adversary, makes sales interaction unique for every customer, and makes them feel that they're an integral part of the process, rather than being forced to buy what the company has to offer and end up being just a number in a spreadsheet.
Value-based selling makes the prospects feel that their needs are understood and available options discussed. All of these consequences of adopting a selling approach based on delivering personalised value-propositions result in potential clients being more receptive to recommendations, comfortable in making the right purchase decisions, and closing a deal.
Is Value-Based Selling a Skill?
Yes. The reason for this is that it's essential to understand your offering, how it works, and why people might need it in their lives. But value-based selling isn't just about understanding the routine aspects of your business. It also requires an ability to connect with your clients, empathise with their situation, and bring them real solutions that meet their needs.
Who is a Good Candidate for Value-Based Selling?
Good candidates for value-based selling are salespeople who want to establish long-lasting relationships with their clients and close more deals over time, as well as entrepreneurs who wish to build trust by educating their customers and communicating clearly and efficiently how the benefits of their products and services are going to benefit their customers.
How to Get Good at Value-Based Selling?
Value-based selling requires a creative and active way of communicating solutions to clients. Rather than following the traditional steps in sales, you work with your prospects by engaging them in conversations using real scenarios, asking questions that help to uncover their needs, and demonstrating how their lives will improve once they buy your product or service.
We've covered the basic steps to follow to improve the quality of live chat conversations you have with your prospects and customers, but we need to go a step further since value-based conversations present additional challenges. The goal here isn't about presenting all the benefits of your offerings but tying some of them to the problems the buyer is trying to solve.
It's about crafting one-to-one messaging that will resonate with their needs and help them understand how your company and your services are going to help them. It's about advising them so they can achieve the best possible outcomes taking into consideration their schedule, budget, and all the other aspects that are important from their perspective.
Depending on the customer's understanding of your products or services, you may still begin the conversation by providing a basic overview of what your solution is all about, but as it progresses you should focus on getting a deeper understanding of what exactly the person you're talking to is trying to achieve to highlight the specific aspects of your offerings that will help them solve their problem, make them look or feel better.
While all of this might sound interesting, it's easier said than done, and you might be wondering how should you approach the information-gathering process and make it feel natural. Luckily human beings are inherently equipped with all the necessary skills to succeed, but you still need the motivation to use them. Empathy and genuine interest in other person's needs are key.
You might think of the information gathering phase as switching seats with your client. Initially, they asked you questions because they wanted to know you a bit better and see if they can trust you. Now it's your turn to ask questions, it's an essential step to gain a better understanding of their needs that's going to allow you to present tailored responses that they're going to find valuable.
What's Value-Based Questioning Technique?
Value-based questioning is a technique often used in combination with real-time conversations to identify and understand the needs of your prospects by asking questions that help reveal their underlying motivations. It's all about encouraging them to open up, talk about their needs, and share their thoughts and feelings so you can gain a better understanding.
What Types of Questions to Ask?
A value-based question can be any question that starts with one of these words: why, what, when, where, how, and brings value in the form of enlightening the customer, and gaining insights into their wants and needs. The most effective way to frame such questions is to use them as openers and then ask follow-up questions that will help you uncover hidden gems of information.
When you ask better questions, you receive better answers. Questions you ask should help you uncover what tasks your potential customers are trying to complete, problems they're trying to solve, or the needs they want to satisfy. The key to achieving them lies in the ability to break down these goals into manageable pieces and knock them off one at a time.
Although specific questions you should ask your customers will vary across industries, products, and customer segments there are three key areas that are going to point you in the right direction, provide you with some good examples to maximise the effects of your efforts to create tailor-made sets of questions for each of your products and services.
Ask About Customer Jobs
No matter what your client is trying to achieve, whether it's getting back into shape, painting a house, or securing their children's future, they give you the objective they have in mind, and your goal is to help them fill in the blanks and uncover the best way to achieve that goal taking into the consideration their situation and unique circumstances.
Depending on your niche in addition to asking questions about the functional aspects of the job it might be beneficial to also ask them about how they want to feel or be perceived by others. This is especially important for customers that want to look good or gain power or status, so if your business provides services in the relevant industry include also these types of questions.
Ask About Customer Pains
Your customers want to avoid any pains before, during, and after trying to get the job done or anything that can prevent them from completing it. These annoyances can come in many forms but are mainly risks related to getting the job done poorly or not getting it done at all. It's up to you to find out what parts of the customer journey can lead them to feel anxious, worried, or frustrated.
In addition to pinning down the potential problems customers have in mind, it's important to understand when each one of them becomes a problem. In other words, at which point their perceived experience will change from positive to negative. The main worries are usually related to lead time, quality, and costs, but can also depend on personal tastes or preferences.
- How do you define: too costly, takes a lot of time, or requires substantial efforts?
- Do you have any specific: bad outcomes, annoyances, or frustrations in mind?
- What are your biggest: concerns, issues, or worries?
Ask About Customer Gains
It's important to ask questions about what your customers expect and how they measure success. For example, when a customer indicates "better performance" as a desirable outcome it's important to understand how they gauge performance. You can accomplish this goal by asking how much they expect or dream of and see if this is something you can offer.
- Which savings in terms of time, money, or effort would you value the most?
- What level of performance or quality do you expect?
- Are you after lowering the costs, or improving the quality?
Desires are the ultimate type of gains and go beyond expectations, they move the attention from must-haves to nice-to-haves, and bring a massive potential to differentiate your offerings from the competition. It's about creating moments of joy that your customers don't expect, so you might need to be creative to suggest some options because your customers might not be able to come up with them even if you ask them.
Why You Shouldn't Settle With a Superficial Understanding?
Sometimes a customer after doing some initial research on their own might think that they know the solution, but they could still be pretty far from the truth. It might seem to them that the product or service they think of is appropriate because it addresses some pains or delivers some gains, but it doesn't address the underlying problem they're trying to solve, so it's important to not settle with a superficial understanding and dig deeper.
To gain an in-depth understanding in a short amount of time, and help your customer to come to an "aha moment" and learn something he or she didn't know before you might need to ask why several times to reach their real motivation. Don't settle until you understand the underlying problem that needs to be resolved. Once you identify the root cause you'll be able to really drive the customer.
For example, let's say a company can't generate demand for its products or services. When you ask them "Why aren't you able to generate enough demand?" to gain a deeper understanding of the root cause they might look into the conversation metrics and say that they either don't have enough people visiting their website or those visitors are disengaged.
When you ask follow-up questions: "Why there're not enough visitors?" and "Why aren't these people engaging with your company?" you might discover that they don't create enough informational content to let themselves be discovered by search engines and instead of proactively engaging their website visitors in real-time conversations, they wait for them to initiate the contact and then force them to wait for the response.
Asking why enables you to add value before the buyer has even tried the product or service you offer and solidifies your position as a trusted resource. You just need to remember not to use why verbatim over and over again and include it in empathy statements. For example, you'd never want to greet someone saying "Hello, why are you here?". Instead you should say something like "Hi there! Is there something I can help you with?".
When you use the second version of the same question, you still get the answer to the first why, but you do it in a more polite, conversational manner that's going to be better received by the person you're talking to. Before you move to your next why you can ask for permission to ask further questions, while simultaneously confirming your understanding of their answer to the first why.
To do that you could say something like: "If I'm hearing you correctly, you're having this problem. I'd like to understand it a bit better. Would you mind if I ask you a few additional questions?". or "Thanks for telling me more about the challenge you're experiencing. I'd love to dig into this a bit more. Would you mind if I asked you a few more questions?"
How to Show the Value of Your Offerings?
If you want your customers to get excited about what you have to offer, there's no better way than to show them the value of your proposition. To achieve that you need to prove that your business can address important jobs, soothe extreme pains, and generate essential gains your customers care about. Achieving fit between what your company offers and what customers want is an essential ingredient of success.
Talk About Your Products & Services
While you talk about your products and services it's essential to acknowledge that not all of them have the same relevance to your customer, some will be essential, while others could be nice-to-haves. It's also important to remember that your offerings don't create value on their own, but only in combination with specific customer needs you've obtained in the earlier stages of the conversation.
Talk About Pain Relievers
To prove that your value proposition helps to soothe customers' frustrations you need to outline explicitly how you intend to eliminate or at least reduce things that annoy them before, during, or after they try to get the job done or prevent them from doing so. You don't need to alleviate all of their pains, but you should focus on a few of them, and come up with relievers that address them extremely well.
Talk About Gain Creators
Talking about gain creators is the last piece of the puzzle. To make it fit perfectly you need to present how you intend to deliver outcomes and benefits your customer expects in a compelling way. Similar to pain relievers, you don't need to focus on all of the gains customers might consider valuable, but rather choose a few and make sure that your value proposition matches well with your customer's expectations.
Value-based selling is very different from traditional "sales techniques". It doesn't start with selling, but rather with asking questions that will help find out what are the customer's expectations. Value-based selling conversations lead to better client engagement because they start with understanding how you can help them solve their problems and fulfill their dreams in a way that will then drive their action.