What’s in a name? Take “Value-based Selling (VBS)”. It’s a great concept, that’s morphing into meaningless.
Let’s get VBS terminology back on solid ground. In a nutshell (to paraphrase composer Duke Ellington) “VBS Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing)”.
To clarify how selling must swing with value, we spoke with some experienced value practitioners, members of our Value Selling & Realization Council (vsrcouncil.org). Their belief – TRUE Value-based Selling only happens when it swings to all of these nine beats:
- Gains executive respect and trust via targeted, client-relevant conversations, conducted early and often.
- Demonstrates strong knowledge of the client’s industry, firm and problem.
- Clarifies the value of the client’s problem before discussing the value of our solution.
- Tailors the Value Proposition to the needs of a specific client (generics are a no-no).
- Articulates soft (intangible) benefits as strongly as hard ones.
- Aligns client’s enterprise goals to our solution features and benefits.
- Emphasizes storytelling by framing value in narratives our client can emotionally connect with.
- Provides pragmatic value realization support to assure our solution actually makes the client “value successful”.
- Arms the sales rep as well as value specialists with all the capabilities listed above.
Value-based Selling is ultimately about the customer or prospect, not about the seller. So this is how we believe selling must have a nine-beat swing to become truly value-based. Anything less, we fear, makes Value-based Selling into wishful thinking.
Do you concur? Comment below or email me at Jack.Keen@VSRCouncil.org.
To interact personally with over 100 value leaders and practitioner, attend the world’s first Value Selling & Realization Summit in Dallas Feb 29 – March 1, produced by the Council.
P.S. There’s a new, no cost source to tap into for the latest thinking, methods and activities of Value-based Selling, and realization. Join the non-profit “Value Selling & Realization Council (www.vsrcouncil.org), as well as the LinkedIn Value Selling & Realization Group (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8433501).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jack Keen is a globally recognized value selling and realization management consultant, trainer, methods designer, and thought leader. His 25+ years experience on five continents as CxO advisor to major providers and buyers alike, and his value realization/change management team leadership on major IT-enabled implementations, has brought him nine industry awards. As a thought leader, he has authored the top selling book “Making Technology Investments Profitable: ROI Road Map from Business Case to Value Realization” (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2nd edition, 2011), major media articles, and blogs, as well as conducted speaking engagements and workshop facilitations at top venues. He serves as Vice-President for Value Strategy for the VSR Council.
Links for more information about the VBS “beats” above:
- See for example pp. 116 in Frugalnomics by Tom Pisello, Founder, Alinean,http://www.amazon.com/Frugalnomics-Survival-Guide-Unique-Market/dp/0692350926/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452293608&sr=1-1&keyw
- See http://www.finlistics.com
- See http://www.inflexion-point.com/blog/the-fundamental-principles-of-value-based-selling
- See www.decisionlink.com
- See “Go Hard on Soft Benefits” post at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/go-hard-soft-benefits-during-sales-implementations-jack-keen?trk=pulse_spock-articles