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Value-based selling: What is it and why is it important?

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The sales rep's job is to sell, but there are different approaches to product sales, including value selling.

The value selling approach focuses on the customer, their needs, and the beneficial outcomes your product offering will provide them.

What is value selling?

Value-based selling is a certain method of selling that focuses on the value your prospect or customer will gain from your product, instead of focusing on the features of the product.

Now, we’re not saying that you need to gloss over the features of your product because they’re important too, but by mentioning the values as well as the features, you’re selling your prospect on how the product could overcome their specific pain points.

Why is value selling important?

It’s all about making your customers feel like they’re making an investment rather than a purchase.

An investment is something that your customers will benefit from and will continue to benefit from in the coming months and even years, too, but a purchase is often seen as a one-time purchase where your customer is parting with their hard-earned cash.

By selling the benefits and presenting your product or software as an investment, you can help mitigate any concerns around costs and get past any objections over the price point.

The Principles of Value Selling

While value selling is all about taking a personalized approach to selling based on your prospects’ particular needs and wants, there is some general guidance that’s useful to know and bear in mind.

Here are 7 key principles of value selling:

  1. Do your research
  2. Don’t lead with your sales pitch
  3. Ask questions (and listen)
  4. Let them know the value
  5. Teach, don’t pitch
  6. Focus on the buying process, not the selling process
  7. Be genuine

1. Do your research

When it comes to sales, preparation is key. Before you go into your meeting with your prospect, make sure you’ve properly done your research.

You should know their key pain points, the things they’d be looking to find resolutions to and know how your product can give them a solution.

One of the main goals of value selling is to put your prospect's needs first, and you can’t do this if you don’t fully understand their needs.

2. Don’t lead with your sales pitch

It might seem counterintuitive to not lead with your sales pitch, but hear us out.

Before you dive into your sales pitch, it’s better to start with having a genuine conversation with your prospect and to hear what they have to say. This leads to the next point...

3. Ask questions (and listen)

Put your best listening ear forward and hear what your prospects have to say firsthand. You should have already done your research into them and their unique situation, but it’s always better to hear it from them first-hand.

Ask questions and get to know their situation better, and really find out if and how your product is a good fit for them and how it would add value.

4. Let them know the value

Once you’ve heard what they’ve got to say, it’s time to start gently selling. Now that you have a better understanding of your prospect's pain point, you can start by letting them know the value that your product could bring to them and how it could help solve their pain points.

As you’re starting to sell, always keep in mind the product benefits and how they can help, and make sure that you’re leading with these benefits so they’re at the forefront of your prospect's minds, too.

5. Teach, don’t pitch

Again, this may go against all your natural instincts, but when it comes to value selling, some good advice is to become more of a teacher than a seller.

Your ultimate goal is to teach your prospects about the benefits of your product and how it can help them, so you should allow yourself to focus on teaching your prospects about the product and not trying to sell.

After all, if your product is a great fit for your prospect, solves all of their pain points, and brings value by teaching them the value, that should be enough.

6. Focus on the buying process, not the selling process

As before, when it comes to value selling, it’s all about guiding your prospect through the process and teaching them about your product, its value and benefits, and the process they would take after they want to purchase it.

7. Be genuine

Lastly, it’s important to be genuine and personable. Value selling is all about generating the most favorable outcome for your prospects and customers, so it’s only natural that you should stay natural throughout.

Maintain a personable approach, ask open-ended questions, listen with genuine interest, and work to form a real connection with the other person.


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Value selling examples

So, what does value selling look like compared to feature-based selling? We’ve got a few examples so you can see the difference and discover in practice how value-based selling could help to sway a prospect into a long-time customer.

1. An umbrella

The features of an umbrella are things like the material it’s made of, whether it’s got a wooden handle, how tall the umbrella is, or how you’d open it. The benefit of an umbrella is that it stops you from getting wet when it rains. Which one would make you more likely to want to buy this?

2. A diver's cage

Say you’re trying to sell a diver's cage. If you were to focus on the features, you might talk about the metal the cage is made of, the unique lock system, or the size of the cage. But really, the only benefit the diver massively cares about is how safe the cage is and if it’s going to work – the rest is just the finer details.

3. The gas mileage on a car

While it is useful to know the certain gas mileage, for those people who don’t know an awful lot about cars, this might not be the best approach to take. Instead, by focusing on one of the major benefits of saving money, you’ll take something they don’t necessarily understand and explain why it matters.

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