As a former salesperson, I can honestly tell you that there’s nothing more frustrating than having your sales manager ask you to “sell the value.” I’d tell him I lost the deal because our price was $2,000 higher, and he’d immediately jump into his coaching role – which always amounted to three simple words: “Sell the value.” I remember the countless times I’d hear this and roll my eyes, thinking, “If I knew how to sell the value, I wouldn’t be sitting here listening to you tell me to sell the value.”

Ironically, several years later, as a sales manager, I offered that same advice to one of my salespeople. I watched his body language change as I delivered the message and realized he had no idea what I meant. He understood the need to “sell the value” but didn’t know how to do it and couldn’t even define what “value” was.  

It's been my experience that most salespeople understand what “value” is. They know it when they see it and can describe how they attempt to sell it, but many struggle to define it measurably. This struggle is a bad indication, because if salespeople can’t explain it, how can they be expected to sell it and use it to help justify their higher price?

IRE 2023 Session Preview

Title: Why People Buy
Speaker: John DeRosa, Director of Contractor Training, SRS Distribution
Date: Wednesday, March 8, 9:30-11 a.m.
Room: C156

Value Defined

I define value with a simple formula: Total Value = Need + Perceived Value.

This definition is helpful because it complements the sales process and justifies the reasons salespeople need to secure the following commitments from their prospects:

  1. The first is the need commitment. Does the prospect recognize they have a problem, and are they committed to solving it? How often have we heard the prospect tell us they wanted to wait until spring or wait until the next storm so they can file an insurance claim? These objections result from the salesperson failing to establish a need and secure the necessary need commitment. The need is critically important to the value we are attempting to sell. If the prospect doesn’t see any need to do the work, they’re not likely to get on your schedule – let alone pay your higher price.
  2. The second is the company commitment. By coaxing the prospect to tell you they want to work with you and share why they feel that way, you increase your perceived value and add context to your selling price. This is one of the reasons I’m a huge stickler for offering a short presentation that gets the prospect emotionally connected to your company.   
  3. The third is product commitment. This area is where salespeople need to differentiate by not offering a product presentation focused only on the brands they use. The product presentation needs to engage the prospect by giving options that connect them emotionally to their project. The more the prospect wants and commits to the product, the greater the perceived value of doing business with you.
  4. Price is the fourth and final commitment – which paves the way for us to sell the project. At this point, we’ve removed every possible objection, and the final decision comes down to affordability.

If you want to sell your price and escape the price-driven sale, you need to follow a process focused on increasing the total value of doing business with you. I don’t mean to oversimplify this, but if you look at what we’ve just described, we use the process to get the prospect to tell us, “I want to do the work, I want your company to do it, and I want the products you’re using.” As we secure these commitments, the more the total value increase as does the likelihood of you being paid the price you deserve.

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