Are You Selling Value, or Values


Share on LinkedIn

The “Made for iPod, iPhone, iPad” emblem appearing on accessories approved by Apple Inc. for iPod, iPhone, and iPad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you thought about whether you’re selling value, or selling values, and have you considered how that choice affects customers? There’s a big difference between the two. Not understanding that difference is where lots of sales people get it wrong – the selling that is. Selling values to a value oriented customer misses the mark. Selling value to a values oriented customer is almost certainly counter productive.

Values based selling works when the buying decision says something about the customer – something she thinks will impress others. Value based selling works when the customer doesn’t care what others think – she cares about making the logical choice between alternatives. There are some simple examples which illustrate the point.

Apple sells values, and does a remarkable job. By making the decision for customers about what they want, and marketing at that aspiration, Apple has become the iCompany. It has iFans. Customers queue outside its stores whenever there’s a new iPhone, or iPod, or iPad released. They don’t worry about price, or value. They care about being more of an iFan than the guys next door.

In contrast Google sells value. Whatever it offers is about function rather than fashion. And mostly its free, in exchange for access which costs customers nothing. Android based phones and tablets offer eye watering price performance compared with the iCompany’s products. It’s software isn’t as elegant as the competition’s, but it works, and its free, and its portable, and its constantly upgraded.

Do Apple and Google compete? Not really. They sell to a different customer type. And they sell differently as a result.

The same thought extends easily to cars. Ford customers don’t buy Ferraris, and Ferrari customers don’t buy Fords.

Companies like Apple and Ferrari, and Google and Ford have this all figured out and build their sales strategies accordingly. They know who is going to buy their products, and why, and how. And they don’t confuse customers by combining value with values.

Have you built this into your sales strategy? Do you know which customers will buy from you and why? Or are you combining values with value, and hoping for the best?

Did this thought get you interested in understanding more about sales strategy? If so you’ll find lots of other counter intuitive insights in our eBook Succeeding in Sales Management. You can download it today.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


  1. One’s personal values are what define us, what we stand / live by, and often we will sacrifice things to maintain them. In the same way, selling the COMPANY’s values (as long as the company lives by them) can also be an effective way to sell more than just a product to a customer. In many cases, you’re actually selling a relationship between the customer and the company – the product being the conduit. I have been fortunate to have spent over 10 years working for a company who really did live by their values and it was a very successful sales technique. These days, I run my own sales training consultancy company, and more than the quality of my work, my clients buy my own personal and professional values. Most people can fulfil a brief, but it’s how they do it that counts….

  2. Well said Rosey – it’s always nice to meet sales professionals who believe in walking the talk, and even better to hear of companies which do the same. There aren’t many of them.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here