When I first started my sales career, I used the same model for every sale: features and benefits. Makes sense, right? I knew what my product has to offer, and I knew how it benefited the consumer. If a prospect had a problem, I simply matched it to the product benefit that would solve it.

That was 15 years ago. A lot changed. As a 21st century entrepreneur, I had to get real: the features and benefits model wasn’t working anymore. I needed a new approach.

I go through a decision-making process for every purchase, whether deciding on a new software system or today’s lunch:

  • What do I need?
  • Which option best meets that need?
  • Which gives me the best value for what I have to spend?

Clients and prospects are no different. They have the same questions. To sell effectively, I must be prepared to answer. People know I can list features and benefits—and guess what. They can find the same information with a Google search.

Here’s how I transform the conversation for the benefit of my clients, and my bottom line.

Focus on value.

To understand the role of value-based sales, let’s recap some key terms:

  • Features are what makes your product or service function: Our grocery store features food, beverages, etc.
  • Benefit is the generic benefit anyone may get from using/purchasing it: Everyone who buys food at the store benefits from their trip buy bringing home food.
  • Value is specific to each person: Jim shops here because he values our greater number of organic foods (compared to the store down the street from his house).

As you can see, factoring in values opens us up to many possibilities. Every client is going to have unique values, needs, and priorities. The trick is to find what is most important to the client, and make clear how your products and services share those values.

How do you do that?

Go deeper.

If you want to demonstrate that you offer unique value (and that you share values with your clients), you have to dig deeper. Building a dialogue on what we assume from surface information (like basic demographics) tends to oversimplify the client. Our assumptions often ruin our shot at making a real connection. People know when they’re having a personal interaction, and when they’re getting a cookie-cutter pitch.

Avoiding these pitfalls is simpler than you think. In your content, on social, and face-to-face, ask questions that will get you to the heart of the matter and help you connect your services with clients’ values. For example:

  • How do you want to transform the way you do business this year?
  • If you could have resources on one topic at the push of a button, what would you choose?
  • When investing in your personal growth, what is your number one goal?
  • What tools and resources are missing from your business toolkit?

Personalization is a key part of a value-rich experience for your clients. But there’s one more thing you can’t leave out when sharing the value of your services.

Make an impact.

Value is often differentiated from price/cost because “getting more bang for your buck” is key to one product being more valuable to us than another. In whatever you share with clients about your product, show them its impact and results in the lives and work of others. This will go a long way toward making them a more confident buyer.

  • Good product reviews
  • Success stories
  • Good press
  • Positive customer feedback
  • Praise from a partner or affiliate

Those are a few ways you can demonstrate your value to others, so your clients trust that working with you will be valuable to them as well.

You don’t have to abandon a sales approach just because it’s a few years old. But if you’re not speaking in terms of value, your potential customers won’t find what they’re looking for. How will you discover your clients’ values? How will those values become a part of the way you build relationships with them?

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