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Vision, Value, and Volume
By Curt Tueffert   Printer Friendly Version

What makes a truly successful sales professional? What moves them to the head of the line when lumped with the competition? What are the characteristics of top sales producers?

There are three ingredients I see that set the best apart. These are Vision, Value, and Volume.

Vision: The ability to share your client's goals and directions from a strategic vantagepoint. In today's competitive world, sales professionals need to go beyond the features and benefits of their products and services and reach the vision of the CEO. Barbara Geraghty in her book Visionary Selling, addresses the need for sales professionals to reach the "C level" by quickly uncovering their goals and strategic objectives before ever discussing the resellers strengths. People with titles of CEO,CFO,CIO, COO do not need "speeds and feeds" or "bits and byte." They need a sales professional that will ask the right questions that uncover the direction of the company and the roles of these key executives. Once fully understood, then the sales professional can match those goals to the product or service offered by the company. Until then, you are just another sales person trying to make the sale without fully understanding the direction of the company or how the product/service will impact their corporate mission.

Value: What you add that no other company can, making your recommended product or service the right choice. Adding value is what top producers do. They make sure the value is congruent with the vision and direction at the C-level. If your product or service is not perceived to add value by aligning with the vision of the company, you'll risk losing the chance to propose the solution, much less close the sale.

Your value add component must be clearly stated and clearly understood by the prospect. The value is not the importance you place on it, rather the importance your customer places on it based on the homework you've done. Your value add must be reviewed, enhanced, and modified to meet your particular vertical market and the demands of the industry. Change is constant, technology continues to leap-frog and so must the communication of your message; value add. Did your product or service assist in the vision and goals of a similar client? Can you replicate your value add? If so, communicate that to your next customer. Tools like the Web, data sheets, case studies, and customer referrals all point to your solution over the competitor.

Volume: The ability to sell at the lowest price based on number of units sold. Top producers know when to say when. They know when it is better to have their customer source something outside the value add. Workstations, printers, and other hardware items fall into this area. Also, "shrink wrap" software and some productivity tools. Top sales professionals know where to draw the line. It goes back to aligning yourself with the prospect's vision and goals. At the top levels, micro pricing and sourcing are not the greatest concerns. The greatest concerns are company direction/vision, shareholder value, expansion costs, top-line recruitment and bottom line retention.

When you, the professional, align with the vision and values, you are congruent with your prospect. Then, your products and services, based on value, will play the critical role in helping achieve the goals and draw closer to reaching the vision. You'll be the salesman others look up to with respect and admiration. While they are talking to lower level decision makers and influences, you'll have already captured the vision and corporate goals, crafted a proposal to team with this prospect to reach these goals, and offers your products and services and the logical next steps to begin the process.

Reach high into the C-level to gain vision and goals. Offer your value add once these are understood. And stay away from the volume trap where margins are thin and resources are thick.

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