I can easily judge whether a salesperson is worth listening to. Can you articulate the value proposition you bring to the table in a way that it gets to the crux of how you enhance value for us as a company? Do you exhibit gravitas? Recognition of the field in which we operate? Understanding of the competitive environment? It’s analysis, but it’s the ability to articulate the analysis in a succinct way that’s connected to our value proposition that will persuade me I should listen to you.
—David Lissy, chief executive officer, Bright Horizons
Ask 100 sellers at 100 companies why their customers buy from them, and you’re likely to hear 100 answers with the same underlying theme. That theme is simply: the value we provide.
Sellers describe their value to us in a number of ways: We get results, our relationships are very close, they get from us what they’ve always wanted (but never gotten) from other companies, we bring innovative solutions to the table, and so on.
You might think, “Well, this is pretty obvious, isn’t it? Maximize value—of course.” To some, it might well be, but in practice, there’s no denying that sales winners are much better at getting buyers to perceive maximum value than second-place finishers.
In fact, in our research, only one factor—“overall value was superior”—was of top importance to buyers in all six categories we studied. On the other hand, product or service superiority ...