COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | JEFFREY GITOMER

Show me the value or I'll show you the door

How do you make a sales presentation?

No I don't mean warm up, probe, present, overcome objections, close. I mean, what's the big picture of your sales presentation? What's the content of your sales presentation? And most important how are you certain that you engage your prospect in your presentation? What makes your sales presentation different and compelling?

Consider this: In order to engage your prospect, your probable purchaser or even your customer, there must be some form of interest or perceived value on their part. If there's no interest or perceived value, there's no engagement.

There are many obvious customer-based values. For example, they need what you're selling, you have it in stock or no one else has it in stock. But that's too easy. And that situation rarely exists.

Consider this: If you had a customer-based value proposition every time you went into a sales call, and that value proposition had real value for the customer, it would give you a consistent approach, consistent engagement and a consistent competitive advantage that takes price off the table as an issue. If you do it right, it can even eliminate or level the playing field of "three bids."

Most companies have created the mythical term “added value.” It's a term that I have never understood. It usually is a bunch of gibberish containing very little value, and if I asked you to describe what added value is, you probably couldn't.

What is a value proposition? Let me define each element. Once this value proposition is broken down, you will clearly see how your sales presentation needs to be restructured so that the customer will know what's in it for him or her.

And oh, by the way, if you're using a "system of selling" or trying to "find the pain" and you're not comfortable with it, this may be an alternative to win the sale without any manipulation whatsoever.

The value proposition is broken into 5.5 strategic parts. Each part stands alone, but each part is critical to the other because they build momentum, reduce perceived risk and ultimately create a buying atmosphere.

Here are the components:

1. The value that your company provides. This is an opportunity for you to talk about your company in terms of what it stands for, how it partners, how it has produced for others and how it serves others. It's a chance to talk about capability and loyalty without mentioning the words “integrity” or “ethics.” In my opinion, if you have to say those words, you probably are just the opposite.

2. The value your product or service provides. The best way to present product value is through the technique known as “similar situations.” This gives you the opportunity to talk about how your product or service has performed successfully in other environments.

Be aware that it's not yet time to use testimonials. Rather, you tell a story about other successful users. Testimonials can be used at the end of your presentation to close the deal.

3. The value that you (the salesperson) provides. If you understand that the first sale that's made is the salesperson, the first sale that's made is you, then you can understand the impact that this piece of the value proposition can play. If you bring no value to the table, then your price will dominate the discussion and the outcome.

Your value are things like industry knowledge, product knowledge, customer knowledge, desire to serve, timeliness and an overall understanding of how your customer can best use your product or service for their benefit.

You have to go beyond salesman to consultant. You have to go beyond salesman to business friend. You have to go beyond salesman to being a resource. By combining those three elements, consultant, resource, friend, you achieve the most coveted business position possible: you become a trusted adviser.

4. The value in a short-term incentive. Everyone wants to feel like they get a “deal” when they buy something. Every infomercial on television ends its sales presentation with some form of Ginsu knife or buy two for the price of one.

Short-term incentives are designed to create a greater sense of buyer urgency. In your case it may be six months of free service, a starter kit of supplies, factory rebate, added piece of equipment at a reduced cost, or something that enhances your offer on a one-time basis to get that customer to buy now.

The danger in any short-term incentive is that the customer will want it again. Your job as master salesperson is to make certain that you have spent enough time communicating the fact that this is one time only.

Well, I'm out of space for this week, but not out of value. The rest will appear next week. I promise you that the value will be there.

Want the list of 5.5 value proposition elements? Go to www.gitomer.com — register if you're a first time visitor — enter VALUE in the GitBit box, and you'll get the list.


Gitomer is the author of the “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling.” Details are at www.gitomer.com. He can be reached at salesman@gitomer.com.

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