The Art and Science of Compelling Value with Dr. Tom Sant


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We all know it – the magic word in selling in today’s increasingly complex marketplace is value. They say that providing value cures all problems. Such stresses as price pressure, intense competition, slow sales cycles, shrinking margin all poof and disappear with the presence of value…right?

A value proposition is a promise to deliver specific results that the client desires, backed up by evidence that you can keep your promise. Moreover, a compelling value proposition should demonstrate the difference between a meaningful value proposition and marketing fluff.

However, that doesn’t always work, essentially taking the value out of value, and devaluing value through a few common obstacles:

  1. Cognitive bias: The status quo effect reveals that people won’t change, even when the cost of doing nothing is higher than the cost of changing. To overcome this bias, it’s imperative to work hard to demonstrate that your value is superior.
  2. Buyer behavior: Sometimes your price-conscious buyers won’t care to listen to you value story. However, while 30% of all buyers are Price Buyers, only 21% of enterprise-sized deals go to the low-priced vendor. Therefore, it’s clear that people are willing to overrule price in favor of seeing more value.
  3. Sales commissions: Commission attainment makes buyers skeptical. To overcome this skepticism it’s important to avoid self-serving behavior and only cross-sell or upsell after a buyer shows real interest.
  4. Weak value proposition: Broad statements and poorly expressed or weak value propositions about your capabilities rarely – if ever – benefit the buyer. It’s therefore best to avoid vagueness or generic claims of superiority.

Fact: Without value, winning is just luck. You must establish superior value based on technical, contractual, managerial, quality, or service differentiatorsor the customer will choose based on price or may choose to do nothing.

Smart buyers look for positive impact, or the promise inherent in your value proposition. You’ve probably seen many value propositions (and not all of them good!), but let’s better understand the ideal approach to creating your own in five easy steps for compelling value:

  1. Identify the customer-related outcomes: Understand the three types of value your buyer seeks: strategic, tactical, and social/political. Who does each value impact and how does each matter on a personal level?
  2. Quantify the value: Consider the scope and size of the value you’re delivering. Cognitive bias already predisposed your buyer not to want to do anything. Therefore, it’s important to demonstrate value or your potential customers simply won’t buy what you’re selling. Learn to ask the right questions and give your buyers a sense of how you’re measuring and demonstrating value.
  3. Show it graphically: Buyers usually resort to merely skimming the documents they receive. Demonstrate value by providing data rich graphics to stop that skimming. Including a graphic, even if it’s not much more than a text box, is enough to pique their interest and get them to read that section of your proposal. If you’re lacking on specific data points, offer a case study.
  4. Link value to relevant differentiators: Identify the differentiators that separate you from others and enable you to demonstrate the value you discussed. Focus on what’s truly unique – as long as it’s relevant. Most likely, someone else is providing something similar, so it’s vital to present why you’re doing it even if a little differently. What sets you apart? How are you better positioned to deliver the value the customer wants?
  5. Prove your claim: Differentiators are more powerful if you can prove them. Provide real proof, not marketing fluff. But how? Evidence! Lead with these three kinds of proof: Things you say about yourself, things your clients say, things the experts say.

Delivering compelling value is far from easy. So now that you’re armed with some key tools and methodologies, you’re that much closer to intelligently achieving the win.

Watch the webinar recording for insight into actual case studies and real world examples into how you can tap into the science of creating real value to your customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tom Sant
An internationally known proposal writing expert, Tom Sant has been called "America's foremost practitioner of proposal writing" by the American Management Association. He's trained thousands of sales people and executives to write winning proposals, deliver effective presentations, and manage complex communication projects in a career that spans more than 25 years.


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