There’s a verse in the bible that states, “Don’t cast your pearls among swine”. I’d translate it in sales terms to mean, don’t present what you know as valuable to someone who’s not ready to see it the same way. If people aren’t buying from you when your offer seems like a no brainer decision, you’re probably casting your pearls to someone who sees them as stones. This happens either because you’re working with the wrong type of customer or you haven’t helped them understand your value BEFORE your final proposal or presentation. Let’s look at the latter.
When the IPhone first came out, I have to admit, I was a little like a swine. I didn’t get it. I couldn’t see paying for the “privilege” of having an IPhone when all the other phones were free. I viewed the required $30 per month data charge as a tax or a fee they were making me pay. I didn’t understand how my life was going to change when I started pushing those app icons and looking up anything I need from just about anywhere. AT&T and Apple had not moved me to understanding the value. But when they did, I didn’t just get it, they got me. What can we do to help people understand the value we deliver?
Stop making the assumption that telling buyers of your value equals them understanding it. Apple and AT&T were telling me about the value of an IPhone but I wasn’t hearing it. I wasn’t ready to hear it and no one took the time to help me understand. Other people were “getting it” and buying the phones, but I wasn’t. I went into stores a couple of times and I heard how much everyone loved them but I was still not buying. I had not found my way to understanding the value in making an investment in one. All the telling did not make it real for me.
Remember, part of your job is helping others understand. As professionals, part of your job is to help the buyer(s) make a quality decision regarding your product or service. If they are making a decision without truly understanding the value your product or service provides to them and/or their company, you didn’t do your job. It’s your job to help them understand what value they can receive from what you offer.
Value is not transmitted by osmosis. The value understood, realized and verbalized by your last customer is not always the same value the next customer will understand. Our successful past experiences can cause us to believe the next potential customer we work with will pick up on our value easily. Do all the right things to help the person you’re now in front of to reach the same level of understanding. When a prospective customers seems delighted when you share how much your other customer likes your product it’s easy to read this as a sign of them understanding the value you provide, but it can also mean they enjoyed your story. Ask a follow-up question to their positive response to clarify:
What have I shared that seems to be making sense for your organization? Have I shared something that would be of value to your company?
Don’t get into details of what you provide until you and your buyer are clear on what they want as a result of their investment. If your product can exceed their wants, don’t share yet; keep helping them see what they might want. Help them dream or stretch their thinking to possibilities. Help them envision what they would really want if money was no object. When they start wanting more from your solution they will find more value in it. Just because you offer a lot, does not equate to value. It’s valuable when someone wants what you offer.
Sometimes you need to provide an experience for people to get it. In todays world of free trials and test drives, buyers are more open to this approach and some expect it. Providing an experience of your product or service that demonstrates its value, not just functionality, is a great way to have buyers understand the value you offer. For some businesses this is easy to do and for others it is more difficult. You might have to get creative, so put your thinking caps on.
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I shared five ways to improve in this area. How about you? What do you do that helps your buyers understand your value? Share it with us in a comment.