You are here

The science of sales part 2 – Selling value

There is a certain science behind being an effective salesperson and the approach to sales is ever changing. It is important for sales professionals to keep honing their skills and techniques in order to stay ahead of the game and remain relevant in today’s market. Sam Thomason, Operating Director at Michael Page Sales, spent time with Darren Spence, founder of sales training and mentoring business Sales Gym 360, to find out more about how salespeople can improve the way they sell value.
Selling value
In part 1 we covered Prospecting and how to be relevant to your client. By proving your relevance and credibility you can ensure that you are the supplier of choice when decisions are made and orders placed. Part of proving your relevance to a client is understanding their motives for buying a product or service. If we can identify their reasons for approaching the market and making an investment we can use this information to sell the value of our solution against the motivations of our client.
In any negotiation you have a choice; you can sell on price or you can sell on value. If you choose to sell on price the focal point of the entire negotiation will be on the cost of the product or service that you are offering. When you sell on value, the conversation is about the return the customer can expect from the investment they are making in your product or service. To be valuable to you client you need to know what is valuable to them and what motivates their decisions as a business.
Identifying why a business invests in people, technology, or anything can be done with the seven step Motive Triangle. Using this we can establish what any business’ primary goals are, what they need to do to achieve said goals, their planned approach and what investment they need to make. As salespeople and in gathering information, the higher up the motive triangle we can reach, the better positioned we are to sell on the value out solution offers.

The Motive Triangle

Starting from the bottom, every purchase a company makes is considered an INVESTMENT. Naturally any investment made will come with an expected return on investment (RoI).
That investment forms part of a considered ACTIVITY or project. Purchases or investments are not made without due process and will need to have received sign off. Remember that it is not your prospect who is spending money, rather their company.
Every project or activity which requires investment will have an agreed upon SUCCESS MEASURE. This will have formed part of the business case put forward before sign off of any investment was given. ‘This project will be deemed successful if…’
Any success measures will have been determined based on a problem which exists in the business, or one that is anticipated to happen. These will be summarised in the STRATEGIC PLAN. The strategic plan will detail the current state and anticipated future state of a range of operational matters within a business. It will also detail what needs to be done to make progress towards goals.
The purpose of the strategic plan is to deliver against the STRATEGIC PRIORITIES of the organisation. The strategic priorities (or mission critical priorities as they are sometimes known) are those things that when met, will enable the company to get to where it needs to be. 
The strategic priorities will have been agreed upon based on the overarching STRATEGY of the business. If for example, the strategy of the business is to float on the stock exchange, the strategic priorities might include such things as ensuring there are robust financial controls in place and mapping out a clear growth plan.
The strategy will be based on the MOTIVE, or motivation, of the shareholders and/or company directors. For example, if the motive of shareholders is to release some capital then an I.P.O (Initial Public Offering – or floatation) could be the strategy identified.

The Motive Triangle

Every investment owes its origin to the motive of the shareholders. The more a salesperson can relate their product or solution to these motives the more they will stand apart from their competition. The reality is that it will not always be possible to identify the motive or strategy of every business you are dealing with – your goal should be to acquire information which allows you to track the motive triangle as high as possible. The higher you get, the better your information and the better chance you have of selling the true value of your solution.
Darren Spence is the founder of Sales Gym 360, provider of original sales tools and specialist sales coaching. For a confidential discussion about recruitment in the sales industry contact Sam Thomason, Operating Director at Michael Page Sales.
Sam Thomason 
T: 0207 269 2128