The Value Curve that Wins More SalesThe Value Curve that Wins More Sales
Sometimes there's no telling what might get in the way of a sale, whether it be time, money, internal challenges or competitive pressures. The key to keeping your prospects' interest is to focus on their highest one or two priorities.
February 21, 2013
targetSometimes there’s no telling what might get in the way of a sale, whether it be time, money, internal challenges or competitive pressures. The key to keeping your prospects’ interest is to focus on their highest one or two priorities.
If you do that, your prospects will make time for you no matter how busy they are. We call this focusing at the top of their value curve, placing emphasis on the things that are most important to them.
Which Priorities Top the Value Curve?
Your customers and prospects always have a variety of issues on their minds, invariably pulling their attention in multiple directions. There always will be those which are priorities over others, however, and it’s your sellers’ job to identify the top few for each customer. We refer to this distribution of priorities as the “value curve.”
Like any other curve, the value curve has a top that is flanked by two valleys. Prioritized needs find themselves sitting at the top of the value curve, with those that are less important falling off into the valleys.
One way to uncover the top issues is to ask point blank, “What’s your top priority this quarter?” The thing to realize, however, is that prospects may not actually know what is most important to focus on without great thought. You may need to identify and prioritize the issues for them.
Let’s say your conversation is focused on IT, for example. You’ve got to expand the discussion to include how the prospect’s IT is helping or hurting their business.
What is it costing them?
How is it affecting their customer base?
What can’t they do with their IT that they really require it to do?
Questions such as these help you to get to the root of the problem, or the “need behind the need” and identify the priorities at the top of your prospects’ value curve.
What’s the “Need Behind the Need?”
One of the things I frequently stress with sellers is how important it is to identify the true needs of your prospects. In the past, we referred to this as getting to the “need behind the need.”
Take, for example, a customer who has his heart set on implementing the latest cloud technology. It’s easy to identify this as being the customer’s most important need, but it doesn’t get to the true issue driving the need. Chances are there’s an overarching reason why the customer is so adamant about embracing the cloud. Perhaps their IT has lost its competitive edge. Identifying the true underlying issue is exactly what it means to focus on the top of a prospect or customer’s value curve.
You might be wondering, “Why should I care as long as the customer is clamoring for the technology?” Because, in the blink of an eye, another priority could take precedence over yours. Suddenly you can’t reach your prospect by phone or email. Your proposal is hanging in limbo. What once was a seemingly top priority has dropped by the wayside and you have no recourse.
When you’re focused on issues that are at the top of your prospects’ value curve, you know not just what the priorities are, but also why. You have all the information you need to keep your prospects focused and engaged through closure. Other distractions will always occur, but not for long. You have the data to redirect your prospects and win more sales.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet,” and the award winning book, “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.
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