There are so many brands and so many choices today, it can be a confusing sea of sameness for consumers. Now more than ever, it’s important for brands to sell based on what makes them unique. What are the differentiators that set your brand and its products apart in the marketplace? It’s those special elements that hold value for customers, moving them to consider purchasing one product over another.
Value-based selling is identifying and reinforcing the advantages of a product, selling on value rather than price. There are two critical components businesses must have to utilize value-based selling.
- They must first discover their product’s value. Often called brand differentiation, it is the process of uncovering the superior aspects of a product or service.
- Their sales network and employees must be educated, trained and equipped to communicate the differentiators that set their product apart in the industry.
What’s unique about your product?
Discovering a product’s value often requires a deep dive into understanding it on many different levels. Meetings with product experts, engineers and designers; plant tours; brand assessments; customer and employee surveys and competitive research are all great ways to uncover the unique, sometimes hidden, advantages of a product.
Stake your claim
Once the advantages are identified, it’s important to distinguish them as unique in the minds of consumers. That means making them special—branding them. The Geek Squad was founded 18 years ago by Robert Stephens, who, along with 65 other technology-minded people, rode around Minneapolis helping customers solve their technology problems. Best Buy bought the company 15 years ago and today, the Geek Squad is 20,000 strong. Best Buy didn’t just add a technology arm to its customer service division; it incorporated a unique service and diversified its offerings by building upon the Geek Squad’s unique branding and value story. Today, it’s a highly recognized brand.
The same story can be told about Apple’s retail technical support associates. These representatives of the tech giant are extremely knowledgeable and offer the highest level of service to customers. The company didn’t just give them a uniform and badge; they specifically branded them as Apple Geniuses. It’s a name that alludes to their expertise and conveys the value they bring customers.
Educate and engage
Once differentiators have been identified and branded, the next step should be educating employees and the sales network. Internal marketing is a great way to align everyone inside a company and inspire them to share the differentiators. A training program can also be helpful, whether in-person, web- or mobile-based. Both are proven ways to educate and provide the resources necessary to sell based on value.
Share the differentiation
Using value-based selling requires listening to a customers’ needs and then identifying the product advantages that best answer those needs. This achieves one critically important thing: it changes the customer’s view of a product from a commodity, which limits it to a strictly price-based negotiation, to a purchase situation where the customer is engaged.
In the 2016 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, Tesla scored the lowest in almost every category, but received the highest rating for discussing features unique from the competition. While Tesla can sell its cars directly to customers in all but six states, there are Tesla stores located throughout the country. Unlike traditional auto dealerships, Tesla itself owns these stores, and the company’s Product Specialists do not work on commission. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said, “Their goal and the sole metric of their success is to have you enjoy the experience of visiting so much that you look forward to returning again.” The company is focusing on selling its value—its differentiators—rather than focusing the experience on price alone.
Go beyond the commodity
Selling on price, rather than value, turns your product or service into a commodity. And when it becomes a commodity, there is nothing to distinguish it from all the other products like it in the marketplace. Using a value-based selling technique has been shown to increase the price at which a product can be sold. By aligning a prospect’s needs with a product’s unique advantages, you build value, customer trust, enhance the purchase and ownership experience and increase brand loyalty. Identify differentiators, sell their value and turn the sales experience into something more profitable and rewarding.