Do you ever think about the difference between value and price? I do. It was one of those lessons that my father drilled into my head growing up – the amount you pay for something doesn’t necessarily equal the value you receive or perceive from it. As women in business, we need to focus on selling value and not compete on price or even confuse our intimate knowledge of our products and services as having inherent value.

Instead, to help clients, customers, and colleagues to see the value in the work you do, it’s important to show the benefits and outcomes of what you do.

Selling value is helping others

“I am not a sales person.”

“I don’t like sales.”

The two statements above, along with about 100,000 variations have come out of the mouths of many people who don’t see themselves as sellers of anything. The problem with this perspective is that it’s short-sighted. Aren’t we all selling value that we provide in a million ways practically daily? Just in case you’re not sure, here are a couple of scenarios for you:

  1. Have you ever replied to a friend’s inquiry about something they need? You helped them get something they needed in that moment of selling value. You may not be personally invested in the outcome, but you still helped.
  2. Do you ever make a suggestion for how a colleague can finish a task? Even if they don’t use your input, there’s often value in the idea because ideas beget ideas. Problem-solving is a basic way of selling value in the workplace.

You may not be overtly selling something in either of these scenarios, but the process isn’t all that different. Sales professionals are adept at identifying a problem, proposing a solution, and demonstrating its effectiveness. In a nutshell, that is sales and humans all do it to one extent or another every day.

Price does not equal value

The fastest way to devalue what you do and deliver is to compete on price. The actual cost of goods and services doesn’t correlate to the value. One example of this in my life is the cedar chest that I have from my grandmother. I could probably sell it, though due to some unfortunate circumstances that caused some damage, the price wouldn’t be very high. The value to me is such that you couldn’t name a price that would persuade me to give it up.

Sentiment aside, isn’t that what you want your clients to feel when you offer them services? That you’re giving them a deal because the fair market value price of your goods and services is a deal compared to the value they receive by doing business with you?

Ultimately, your customer should want the value you offer, not the product or service. A bookkeeper can say they maintain your books for you, or they can say they free up your time to do work that makes you money. The value is the time you now have to grow your business.

What value do you provide?

What’s the difference?

Making the shift from selling a product with a price to selling value is about a change in mindset. When you are focused primarily on a product with a low price, it follows that there’s a well-developed sales pitch that is heavy on describing features. The conversation tends to focus on what the customer says they need instead of getting to the actual root of the problem. This kind of discussion is about achieving business goals, not meeting a client’s needs, because the desired outcome is a sale.

More and more, companies want to be known for selling value, because:

  • It achieves goals on both sides (the business and the customer)
  • There’s open discussion of value
  • The conversation digs deeper into client needs
  • Customer satisfaction is higher because they get the help they need
  • Client success = business success

Commit to learning the art of selling value

When you consider all the books out there on sales topics and being influential, it’s easy to see this isn’t natural for everyone. It can take some time to adjust ingrained habits and practiced scripts.  If you want to grow your skills, finding a good coach is one way to accelerate the process. Additionally, you can record your side of sales conversations to examine what you say and consider how you might change in future to provide more value.

It’s worth it to present greater value to clients and customers by changing the focus of conversations to focus on the true needs you’re meeting.

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I hope you’ll join us this month as we explore this topic more at the WineDown, and at the end of the month at the Breakfast Mix and Mingle! Members, don’t forget to sign up to attend the AGM on September 21st! We have had an exciting year and this is your chance to hear all about it.

Karen C. Wilson, WBN President
WBN President, 2016-17
Marketing Writer at Halogen Software