Value, specifically defined as the ROI that our buyers expect to receive from leveraging our unique capabilities to solve their problems, is the heart and sole of any value based sales cycle.  The better the seller does of providing easy to understand and specific examples of the ROI/value expectations, the more likely the buyer will be convinced to adopt those example numbers as their own.

A good example of this would be:

“One of our clients, XYZ Company, told us they saved $500K per year by solving that same problem.  The way they calculated this was by saving the equivalent of five full time people (FTEs) who are paid on average of $100K per year.  Would you expect to achieve similar results?”

Using an actual customer example makes it concrete for our buyer and sets a reasonable expectation as to the expected value for them.  Doing this with a real customer who has had success solving the same problem with you makes the example believable.  If you simply provided these same numbers from a ROI calculator without the specific connection to a real client, they simply won’t be as impactful to your buyer because they came from a spreadsheet, not a real life example.

So far so good, right?  In a perfect world every company would have a deep list of these type of examples that their sales teams could use to convince prospective buyers to become actual buyers.

This isn’t always the case, so let’s look at the reasons that we tend to hear most often as to why companies don’t have these value examples well defined for their sales teams today:

  1. “We can’t use the client name in public.”

No worries, don’t use their name, just describe them, ie “a very large bank”…

  1. “ We haven’t been measuring currency improvements, everything in our world is based on % improvements.”

Two-part suggestion here; first, start using the % improvements other clients have achieved and then immediately start translating these successes into currency examples.  It’s very okay to say something like “ABC company achieved a 43% decrease by solving this problem, what impact would those same results have for you?”. This becomes way more effective when you can add in currency amounts “…they told us this as worth $500K a year in labor cost savings (see math in the first example)”.  Which version of this grabbed your attention stronger?  Correct, the example with the currency amount in it.

  1. “We’re a new company and/or these are mostly new products and we haven’t sold enough of them yet to have real success stories.”

Okay, but let’s pivot to expectations based on any available credible third party analysis (Gartner, Forrester, etc).  The example would be “(Name of analytics company) projects that most clients can reduce X by Y and the annual currency savings should be…”

The closer we can get to using actual client success examples with currency impacts the sooner we will improve close rates, increase deal size and be able to defend pricing.  If you’re solving problems in a unique way (meaning your competitors cannot do this) and your customer not only agrees with the value examples you provided but has in fact written their business case justification using these same numbers, why should you have to discount?  Anytime I’m asked to discount or, my favorite, match a competitor’s pricing, my response is “We agree that I’m solving problems no one else can and that solving these problems are important to you, yet you’re asking me to match their pricing. We can have that discussion but we’ll also need to discuss which of my capabilities you are choosing not to purchase.”

Moral of the story is the seller with the higher value wins, even at a higher price, provided the buyer actually believes in the expected value.

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Doug Von Koenig

Doug has been personally using ValueSelling since 2001 and joined the company in 2009. Now leveraging his diverse leadership experiences to provide a finely tuned and highly customized ValueSelling solution for his clients, Doug is helping them quickly accelerate their business growth.