It’s About Value

graphs and numbers on a computer

The vast majority of the proposals for goods and services I see written by salespeople miss the only thing the prospect cares about . . . value. Here is what I mean.

Let’s say you are selling a marketing campaign. Most of the proposals I see talk about the sequence of events . . . the actions that the service provider is going to execute on behalf of the prospect.

“We will . . . conduct research, perform due diligence, review current materials, submit a new plan, blah, blah blah. And the COST will be . . . drum roll . . . $20,000. And oh, by the way, here are another 30 pages on who we are and why we think we are perfect for this job.”

First of all, just as a quick side bar, nobody cares what you think. You are obviously biased and trying to sell something so you should never use that phrase in the selling context. You should refer to references, case studies and other proof statements from objective parties.

Back to the main point, however, when it comes to a proposal and the costs/benefits therein, this is what a prospect wants to hear.

“Our mutual goal, through this marketing campaign, is to achieve 20 new customers at an average revenue of $25K each. That is an annual increase of $500K in revenues which, given the typical margins/multiples in your industry, should increase the value of your business by a million dollars.”

You see where I am going with this. Without a definitive value proposition, the prospect is going to zero right in on the $20K of cost and start grinding it out. But when you present the much larger value proposition, suddenly the $20k looks more like a reasonable investment, and the whole conversation turns positive.

So why don’t more salespeople sell this way?

Well, one reason is that they may never have been trained to. That is easily remedied, starting right here. But there is another reason with which we all need to be acutely self aware.

That is, we may not think our goods/services are that good, so we do not really want to expose ourselves with a compelling value proposition that our prospect will hold us accountable for. In that case, it’s time to call an all hands meeting and do some heavy soul searching. Because if you cannot provide measurable value for the investment, you are asking a prospect to make, neither your business or you as a salesperson is going to succeed in the long run.

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