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The Value Litmus Test

by Victor Antonio


Value Litmus Test for ProfitabilityAny good salesperson knows the old adage of presenting: telling what you’re going to tell them before you start, tell them and when you’re done telling them, tell them what you just told them.   Sometimes it can easy for the client to get lost in all the data and information being discussed which is why its always best to have a meeting plan or discussion outline ahead of time and then review that information after the information has been shared.

But it’s up to the salesperson to manage the client’s memory load and take away.  By that I mean you want to filter down for the client what you believe are the most relevant and salient points.  If you let the potential client walk without helping them assimilate the information, you run the risk of them not quite understanding your value proposition after you leave the meeting.   You can avoid this mistake by simply summarizing at the end the value your company is offering to help improve the client’s position financially.

Value: If you propose a change that you believe will either significantly increase the client’s top line sales or decrease their cost, putting a value on just how big that increase or savings is crucial.  If the product or service impacts more than one area, quantify each separately and then aggregate them later on the proposals.  Take extra time and care to explain concepts, terminology and quantification methods (i.e., how you arrived at your figures).

Timeline: Once you’ve proposed your cost savings or your revenue increase proposal, the next thing to do is to assign a timeline for when you believe that will happen for the client.   Do not leave it open ended and hope the client will figure out their own Return On Investment (ROI) timeline.   A timeline is just as important a sales metric as ROI or Net Profit.   A client who is investing in your product is thinking two things: “How will I get my money back?” and  “How soon will I be able to get it back?”   Based on the size of the project, you may want to use years for long ROI cycles and quarters for short ROI cycles.    Profit timelines should include at a minimum the Break Even point and a Return On Investment schedule.

Conversion: Unless you’re selling into a Greenfield (first time application), you’re more likely than not to come upon some resistance or hesitancy from the client when it comes to making a product or service change.   Change is hard and no one likes it.  Everyone what’s change but the last thing they want to do sometimes is change.  It’s important that your proposal clearly outline how the change-over or conversion, from the old to the new, will take place.  And make sure that timeline coincides with the client’s expectations.  If it doesn’t, you need to reset the client’s expectations early on in the conversation.

Credible: The value proposition you propose has to be realistic, but moreso believable by the client.  Your proposal should clearly delineate the ‘what and how’ the client will benefit from buying your product or service.  Timeline suggestions are tricky.  If you’re ROI window is too long, the client might question its legitimacy; the same is true if you choose a timeline that is to short to realize the process or revenue improvements you are suggesting.

As you develop your presentation and proposal, keep these four points in mind.  To summarize the above, the client wants know: a) Value: How Much, b) Timeline: How Fast, c) Conversion: How Much Work, and finally d) Credible: Is it believable.   Being able to demonstrate and prove each one is will value litmus test clients will be requiring of you and your proposal.

Categories: Selling Value

Esteem Value – The Subjective Side of Value

by Victor Antonio

Victor Antonio Value Centric Selling Sales consultant and trainer, atlanta georgiaThe term value is very difficult to define since value often times is in the eye of the beholder.  Value is made of up several components that contribute to the overall attractiveness of a product (or service) Value has a Use component defined as how the product is to be used to accomplish a given task.   It also has a Cost component which speaks to material and labor required to create the product.

One component that is always present but rarely discussed is Esteem value.  Esteem value is defined as the subjective value a client attributes to the product that makes them feel good about owning the product.

ford focus esteem value centric selling

Ford Focus

For example, if I were to show you two different cars, a Ford Focus and a Toyota Lexus, which one would you choose?  Which one would you value more?  Before you answer, let me first say that the Use component of value is equivalent.  Both cars can get you from point a to point b.  I should also mention, for the sake of this example, that both cars cost the same to manufacture and use almost identical components. So there is no difference in Use value or Cost value.  So what would drive one to prefer one car over the other holding all other variables (e.g., price, quality, service, etc) constant?   The answer is the Esteem value of the car.

One person would value driving an American car as a source of pride and would therefore choose the Ford Focus.  Or the person may simply buy the Lexus for atheistic (i.e., styling, available colors, interior design, etc.) reasons.  Whether it’s out of national pride or just taste, the buyer will buy the car that will make them feel the most pride of ownership.

Apple is a good example of a product that contains a high Esteem component in the value of the products the company manufactures.   Look at the Macs, iPod or iPhones.  All these products have a Use component (functionality), a Cost component and they most definitely have an Esteem component.  People who own Apple products take pride in showing off their “apple logo” when they flip open their portable laptops.   The white headphone designs used with the iPod is another declaration of pride in ownership.

As a salesman selling high tech products, I was very aware of the Esteem component in our products.  Sometimes it was the ‘slimness or sleekness’ of the chassis design or the variety of colors we offered that turned a client’s head.   Clients took pride in being able to design a system where all the chassis and rack colors matched.  Sound silly?  Not to the network operations manager whose identity was tied to how well he managed his facility and the pride he took in his work when potential clients came for a site visit.

It’s hard to calculate the Esteem component value in any product since the value itself is subjective.  But Product Managers and designers should take note that building value into a product isn’t simply about Use (functionality) and Cost, it’s also about how it will the client feel when they own it; the Esteem component of value.

Categories: Selling Value