The following post is drawn from Duct Tape Selling – Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar in stores May 15th.
Value propositions are a staple of sales and marketing. It’s hard to start a sales conversation if the potential buyer doesn’t understand how a product or service adds value in a way that is different from other options.
One of the keys to standing out in a competitive sales arena is to discover, communicate, and amplify your greatest strength as your individual value proposition. If you don’t have a strong value proposition, you will surely land in the prospect’s “no” pile.
First and foremost, every company should provide value through its offerings, but when a buyer is considering different options, the individual salesperson’s value proposition, reputation, process, and brand can play a large role in the final decision. These factors also play an important role in customer loyalty in the long term. How you sell is just as important as what you sell and who you are dictates the best way to teach, advise, and sell.
Understanding Your Personal Strengths
The first step in determining how to use your value add is to get a better understanding of your personal strengths and how they impact your interactions. Just by considering this concept and identifying your strengths and offerings, you will be a better salesperson, no matter what.
One tool that can help you determine your value proposition is a scientific personal brand assessment that Sally Hogshead developed with the team at Fascinate, Inc. This test reveals how your personality adds distinct value by using twenty-eight questions to determine which of the fourteen personality archetypes fits you best.
Another useful tool is the Kolbe Index, created by Kathy Kolbe, a leading expert in cognitive development and assessment. The Kolbe A Index measures a person’s instinctive method of operation (MO) and identifies the ways he or she will be most productive.
Both of these tools focus on helping people find their unique abilities and value proposition. They help you use what you already have and in a way that benefit everyone around you. Many personality tests measure how you see the world, but these two help you understand how the world sees you.
Getting Customer Feedback
Once you’ve done your own personality assessment, now it’s time to get some feedback from another very valuable source—your clients.
You’re not looking for scientific data here. Instead, you’re looking for themes and stories that offer insight into the style your clients see. Instead of asking them to validate that your service was good, you’re looking to uncover patterns of where and how you add value. Here are some useful questions to ask these customers.
- Why did you buy from me in the first place? You are looking for what helped them decide to buy, what built the trust, what resonated in your processes.
- What’s one thing I did in the sales process that you loved the most? Find out what one part of the sales process they liked the most and try to get them to be as specific as possible.
- What’s one thing our organization does that others don’t? This may sound a lot like the question above, but what you are really trying to get is some industry comparison. Have you succeeded where others have failed?
- If you were to refer me to a friend, what would you say? Have your customer describe what you do best as though they were telling a friend. This point of view can be very powerful and the answer could turn into a testimonial.
- Can you tell me about three other companies that you love? This question lets you to see what they think ‘best of class’ looks like and why—and it helps you build a list of potential strategic partners.
- Bonus: If you can, ask the customer to conduct an online search in front of you. Tell them to imagine that your service no longer existed and they needed to replace you. What phrase would they search for?
Work with Themes that Matter
Based the customer feedback, see if you can find any recurring themes in the responses. What statements did you hear again and again? Maybe several customers told you they like how you don’t talk down to them or appreciate how quickly you call them back when they have a question.
Do the answers you received fit with the value proposition your company uses as a marketing tool? Does your company clearly communicate a strong differentiation point? Do your customers understand your brand promise?
Understanding how to align your personal brand, sales process, and value proposition with that of your company is a key step in become a sales superstar.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. His latest book, Duct Tape Selling – Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar is available online and in bookstores May 15.