Water Well Journal

August 2015

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/543740

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Page 51 of 71

V alue, importance, worth, or usefulness of your product or service is not a new concept by any means. In the past few years, though, it's become front and center in the sales process for three reasons: Multiple choices. The days of having the only game in town are long gone for most companies and salespeople. Even new product innovations and service categories enjoy only a brief honeymoon before finding themselves facing renewed competition from other vendors. Similar features. While there are certainly capabilities that are unique to your product or service, often there are many variations of the same feature available in the market that can also solve your prospect's problem or help them to achieve their needs. Same messages. Maybe your product or service is com- pletely unique, but the competition has done a good job of positioning their product or service in a way that makes it look or sound similar to yours. What that does is effec- tively blur the lines of distinction in your potential cus- tomer's eyes. Ultimately, it's not about reality, but about your customer's perception. The value proposition A strong, clear value proposition can help you break through this clutter and differentiate your product or service for your customer. A value proposition states the results your prospect can expect to receive from your product or service. Unfortunately, most value propositions are weak, fill-in- the-blank variations on the elevator pitch: "We do X for Y so that they can Z." A value proposition needs to instantly resonate with your potential customer in order to be successful. It does this by connecting the benefits of your solution to your prospect's challenges and goals or needs. The following qualities can make your value proposition stand out and drive home your sales message for customers: Be relevant. A good value proposition is always seen from the buyer's eyes and is relevant to their goals and objec- tives—not a simple rehashing of your marketing position- ing statement or a list of your strongest benefits. For example, if your prospect's primary concern is water quality, a value proposition that focuses on energy efficiency is going to produce a disconnect unless you first address their primary goal. Always shift the focus away from your company and what you consider your benefits and onto your customer—and what they consider a benefit. Be specific. Vague statements of improvement just won't cut it today. Savvy decision-makers roll their eyes at gen- eral claims like "We can save you money" or "We help improve your bottom line." Questions leap to mind: How much can I save? In what time period? Where does that savings come from? Purchasers want to see concrete results, not vague promises. If possible, break it down and measure the out- come they can expect to see from your solution. For exam- ple, "Our geothermal units can cut your monthly electrical bill by as much as 50 percent." Be unique. Since most selling opportunities must answer not just the question "Why should I buy?" but "Why should I buy from you?"—your value proposition needs to point out why you are superior to your competition in areas important to your prospect. This is true even if you are the exclusive vendor in your industry as you may be competing against the status quo. Be credible. A strong value statement provides proof. In other words, your prospective buyer wants to know, "Can you provide evidence for the claims you make?" Evidence can come in the form of testimonials, an inde- pendent third party, and research showing actual data or ranking around the area of value and can help customers see you do what you say you can. For example, "According to the average operational costs for a project your size, the cost of having a rig out of production for one day can be near six figures. Because we can provide you with 24/7 parts and supplies, we can help you save nearly $100,000 or more in potential downtime in the field." Applying all these elements to your value proposition will give assurance what you are saying is tailored to meet your prospect's needs and clearly delivers value—from their perspective. JULIE HANSEN ACT LIKE A SALES PRO BUILDING A STRONG VALUE PROPOSITION You must have one to break through the clutter surrounding potential customers. WWJ waterwelljournal.com Julie Hansen is a professional sales trainer, speaker, and author. She authored the book ACT Like a Sales Pro in 2011 and has been featured in Selling Power, Entrepreneur, and Sales and Service Excellence magazines. She can be reached at julie@actingforsales.com and www.actingfor sales.com. 50 August 2015 WWJ

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