Conclusion of a Five Part Series.

Are you selling with great perspective but still find your sellers discounting to win opportunities? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone; it’s alarmingly common. Happily, It just doesn’t need to be that way. Selling with perspective (or insight, sometimes challenging) is a proven winner, growing revenue by uncovering value. In the right hands, that can deliver results company-wide. In the wrong hands though, it means producing lots of unprofitable revenue: making your company work harder for less reward.

Throughout this series, I’ve discussed perspectiveknowledge or insight that expands a customer’s understanding of one or more business issues. When a seller provides perspective, they apply customer-valued (not just any) insights and expertise about unanticipated outcomes. Perspective might mean improving a decision, or anticipating a previously unanticipated result.

Selling with perspective breaks sales professionals out of a death spiral. That spiral, in the customer’s words: “since salespeople don’t add value to my decision, I’ll do my own research. Then, I’ll invite a few companies to bid on a solution I’ve designed for myself. As a result, those sellers will have a hard time adding any value”. Using insightful selling to break the death spiral pattern is essential. It helps win more opportunities.

The thing is, a great perspective seller is most of the way to being able win those same opportunities at much higher margins—combined with higher customer preference. Perspective selling while discounting is so close, yet so far.

Why Sell Value, Not Just Insights?

When you reduce any business down to its bare essence, you find that every company (including non-profits) has the same fundamental mission or core purpose.

Every company exists to generate higher customer value than it cost to deliver.

In a nice coincidence, perspective selling allows sellers to uncover and develop additional value – the very essence of a successful business. Since value is the basis of price (OK, strike “is”. “should be” the basis of price), perspective sellers are perfectly positioned to sell value-based prices. They just need to take their game to the next level.

The Three Pillars/Legs of the Perspective Selling Stool… and Value.

Remember the three foundational “pillars” of expertise (or three legs of a stool) a seller should master:

  1. Business Acumen…This was the focus of part two. Basically, business expertise helps evaluate a prospective customer’s (or any company’s) operational efficiency and effectiveness, then identify value gaps.
  2. Solution Acumen. Thanks to the Internet, feature/benefit selling has died. As discussed in part three, solution expertise underlies perspective selling. In contrast to feature/benefit approaches, Perspective requires translating a seller’s product or service into results/outcomes for a prospective buyer.
  3. Customer Acumen…In part four, we described world-class customer acumen.  It’s expertise in facilitating a group buying decision. At elite level, sellers add decision criteria & supporters associated with any desirable outcome their solution delivers (even if it’s outside the normal buying thought process…perspective, remember?). An important note: sales skills and methodology live almost exclusively in this leg of the stool.

The ingredients of selling a value-based price are all right there above…emphasized in boldface.

Perspective (aka insight , and to a lesser extent Challenger) selling harnesses a compelling buying process. It causes a customer to visualize themselves getting new, desirable results. Those results are the foundation of priceable value. Priceable value, in turn, is used by elite sellers to practice value-based pricing. Unfortunately, this isn’t as obvious as it should be. For proof, just look at how many dollars in discounts you gave out last year.

Can You Please Just Finish the Layup?

Done correctly, perspective selling is uncovers customer-valued outcomes throughout the entire selling process.

Most perspective selling unfortunately underachieves its full potential. Specifically, perspective sellers don’t learn to ask that one more question: “what are the financial impacts of this outcome to you”? The exact wording of that basic question varies depending on personal style and situation but could sound like:

  1. What is [this situation] costing your company every [year/month/etc.]?
  2. It sounds like [situation] might be causing [other department/role] to spend [hours/dollars/resources] on [current work-around]. Can you tell me about that–or get me in front of them to ask directly?
  3. I just had a similar situation at another company. There, [describe improved outcome], gave them in X% reduction in [risk/cost/waste/etc.], a [savings/cost avoidance] of $Y. How do you think this might translate to your situation?
  4. …you get the idea. Get the customer to express the outcome/result as a result denominated in  [insert customer’s preferred currency here].

Thankfully, this isn’t a “keep selling until you lose” situation — where you keep talking after the prospect has said yes. Perspective sellers uncover value early and often — way before the proposal/price negotiation stage. Remember, escaping the death spiral early is the whole point of insight selling. Failing to quantify the value that perspective sellers have already uncovered is like leading an open fast break in basketball. Sellers only need to “finish the layup” by helping the prospect cost-estimate a valuable result in the flow of discovery.

The Three Pillars of Perspective Selling and Value Price Selling are the Same. They’re Just Used Differently.

Let’s connect some dots. First, re-read the boldface text on the three pillars of perspective selling above. Next, go back and read the typical questions just above. Finally, notice how each pillar helps a seller:

  1. Understand a cost impact on the customer’s business? (hints: business acumen, solution acumen)
  2. Predict a related business result, (business acumen, solution acumen), then recruit a new buying influence who might have something to gain (customer acumen).
  3. Apply a prior success (solution acumen) into the current prospect’s situation (business acumen), then start one persona on the path to monetizing the problem in their own world (business, solution, and customer acumen).
  4. …you get the idea. Sellers must combine all three legs of the stool to support both perspective and value price selling.

Thus, If you’ve invested in sales skills and methodology (the customer acumen leg of the stool), and are not winning deals at the right prices, consider balancing your investments in the other two legs of the perspective selling stool.

Perspective Selling: a Great Start

Perspective selling carries your conversation widely and effectively around an organization. However, value price selling can carry your conversation more effectively into the C-suite.

Perspective selling uncovers and clarifies value drivers. In contrast, Value price selling monetizes drivers. Full Value Selling pushes sellers to monetize every single value driver they possibly can.

Perspective selling wins opportunities. Better, Full Value selling builds so much monetary value for your solution that your higher price is a better bargain to the customer than the exact same proposal sold only with perspective. This is just science…buyer behavior science.

Selling value is one of those areas where less is actually less. More value can earn a higher price with higher preference. Importantly, price is profit…and profits are how your company can afford to keep delivering differentiated products and/or services. Remember,

Your company exists to generate higher customer value than it cost to deliver.

Ask yourself this question: If you aren’t happy with your company’s current financial results, could it be because your sellers are trained — and compensated (that’s at least another blog post, probably a large can of worms) – to go after exactly the outcome you pointed them toward?

If you want to talk about it, contact me.

To your success!

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