Creating Value & Solutions
"Are you creating value for your customers? Enough
value? In today's new sales paradigm, unless you are creating value every single
time you're with a customer, you're vulnerable to being replaced by another
supplier or professional." Simply put: "you need to be a step above
your competition. In this study we will provide you with an example of how to
build customer loyalty and make a successful sale both at the same time.
An opportunity is always there for the sales person who
knows higher commissions result when value is created for the customer. I
often hear "Sell what you've got!" or "Just close the sale; give
them whatever they will buy" when doing so does not add value for the
customer. This approach really means get a one time commission for the sales
person and don't consider creating customer loyalty. Just making the sale is a
short term answer, giving a customer a solution and meeting their need gives the
sales rep and the company real value.
What would happen if you had products or services from multiple suppliers that
you could offer customers? You know your clients and their issues. Wouldn't it
be great to match an effective solution to their problem and have confidence it
will work? It is really very easy to do and it is the only way to build a clientele
instead of just servicing customers. Always keep in mind that what the
customer wants is not necessarily what the customer needs. We can look at a very
simple example and see what we can come up with.
Lets say you are a sales person dealing in office equipment supplying small
businesses and people who work from their homes. One day you get a
telephone call from a potential customer who is setting up an office in her
house and she needs a telephone. The answer is simple right? Send her a 1
line phone for her new desk. WRONG!!
The example above is NOT selling. The example is called placing an
order. Lets try it again with a different approach.
Selling is qualifying, evaluating and then conditioning. I usually recommend
asking at least three things for every sale. Try getting to know the customers
needs, their environment, and what they are really trying to do; ask some
- "What type of business do you do?"
- "How many telephone lines do you have in your home? Do you
have one telephone number for your main house and another for your business?
- "How much time do you spend on the phone? Do you spend all your
day in the office or do you ever need to go and do other things around the
house when you have free time?"
In this example those three questions could totally change the customers
opinion of what they need, and will also give you the opportunity to do more
than just order them something. Just by asking a couple of questions you
have gone from being a sales person to a consultant. You have planted the
seed to up sell and to offer them solutions that will provide them
- It is a pretty good assumption that if someone is setting up a home
office they do not have their customers coming to their front door.
They probably do not have a lot of in person customer contact. The first
answer will give you an overview of their environment.
- Logically most people will have a second business line for their home
so that they can distinguish between work and personal calls. Even if they
have only one main number they are likely to have another line for a fax
and/or internet connection as well. So the chances are very strong
that the person has at least two phone lines.
- We need to know their habits and uses if we are going to find the
customer the most useful solution. We also need to find an up sell and offer
them added value. Our third question has given us that potential.
Now lets see what he have learned and then offer them out recommendations so
that the customer can make a informed decision.
For this example the answers are fairly straight forward:
"I am a consultant who spends most of my day in my office, this is
mainly because I constantly need to be at my desk so that I can answer the
phone. I don't always want my customers to know that I work from my house so I
have a dedicated 2nd phone line for my business. The last thing I need is
for my kids to pick up the phone or for my personal voicemail to kick in right
when I am closing a big deal.
Like any good consultant or sales person my customers need to be able to
get hold of me. My customers expect to be able to reach me right away and
if I miss their call then it means that I need to call them back. I end up
having to call they back two or three times because we always get stuck in the
"tag your it voicemail hell." Also since I am a consultant I do a lot
of conference calls, I spend a great deal of time talking but usually do
paperwork or try and get other things done if I don't have to focus all my
attention on the topic at hand."
We have learned a lot from those three questions and I think we can offer her
a potential solution that will do more than just allow her to answer a
call. So lets see what we can offer her.
"I think I have a more effective solution for you than just getting a
telephone for your desk. By getting a two line cordless phone for
you we can solve a lot of issues and also give you some mobility so that you are
not tied to your desk for the entire day. It will also give you the
ability to be more productive by allowing you to do other things around the
house while you are doing your every day work.
Think of it this way; if you pick up your cordless phone in the morning
you can carry it with you all day. You can answer or make calls from any
place in your house and if you need both hands free you can just put on a
headset and clip the phone on to your waistband. You could be working on
you computer, writing or moving around your office with both hand free and with
complete freedom or even making lunch, fold clothes, or water the lawn while you
are on those long conference calls. By using a headset attached to your
cordless you would sound much better than if you were on a speaker phone or
sitting with your neck cradling the phone as you tried to talk.
Having two lines is useful because by connecting your business phone
number to line 1 and your personal number to line 2 you are never going to miss
a call. You will always be able to distinguish between your business calls
and your personal calls simply by looking at what line is ringing. Having both
lines attached to that one phone also gives you the ability to make three way
conference calls, and since you are paying for two telephone numbers you might
as well take advantage of both lines. Think of the advantages of being able to
conference in a third party to your calls. The fact that you are cordless gives
you much more versatility, and if you were to add a headset to that phone you
would be giving yourself even more freedom."
What have we just done?
We have evaluated the customer, determined both potential and existing needs,
and offered solutions to those needs. We asked a few simple questions that
made the customer think and focus on the topic, their answers gave us our sales
approach and all we did was fill in the blanks. We revealed some solutions
and provided suggestions as to how they could be more productive in their
day. We did much more that just sell them something, be became a resource
to them. Chances are that they will choose the solution that we offered
because be have shown that it not only fits there needs but surpasses them. In
the worst case scenario the customer may not end up buying the product that we
are recommending but they are sure to buy something similar. We provided them
with value and made ourselves into a resource instead of just taking a
order. They are also much more likely to come to us the next time they
have a problem because we went the extra step and got to know what they really
wanted instead of just what they thought they should get.
The secret to being a successful and professional sales executive is to
evaluate the customers need and provide a varied selection from your portfolio
of products & services that will work as a solution. You must be able to
match your customer's problem with the appropriate solution. Forcing a pair of
pliers to do the job of a wrench is not a solution. The pliers may get the
job done but it will not give the customer the confidence to turn to you the
next time they have a need.
The amount of money you earn is directly related to the quantity and quality of
the work you do. The ability to uncover a need and provide a solution is
directly related to your customers satisfaction and their likelihood of being a
repeat customer. Sell the solution and the product will sell itself.