Differentiating Value

DV Week Part 4-The Emotional Customer

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We close out the DV week with a final delineation of the real prospect who will value your DV.  The person who will respond to it is the Emotional Customer.  Unfortunately, most salespeople hunt down the Logical Customer and end up in a sales black hole.

Terry Slattery, an expert on DV, walked us through this important aspect of leveraging your DV while prospecting.

Let's first define the Logical Customer:

  • Easy to find but hard to close
  • Price Sensitive
  • Limited performance metrics
  • May have a vested interest in not changing
  • Often isolated from the consequences of delay or undervaluing your DV

The Logical Customer can be lurking anywhere inside of an organization, but some common locations are purchasing, IT, HR among others.  These contacts fit the above description and will work hard to "commoditize" your Differentiating Value.  If your salesperson ends up stuck in this area, you have to guide them out of that hole.

Let's focus on where your salesperson should be focusing - the Emotional Customer:

  • Has zero interest in your stuff
  • Feels the pain and consequences of not having your DV
  • Gets the bill for the pain
  • Easy to close
  • Usually can tell the Logical Customer what to do

See the difference?  The question is how do you find them?

Qualifying.

Your team has to know what their DV is, have it translated into the prospect's world and then have to ask the right questions to find the Emotional Customer.

If you need help implementing Revenue as a System, we can help.

DV Week Part 3-DV Depth and Premium Pricing

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Let's review CRO Success Rule #5:

The breadth and depth of your Differentiating Value platform determines the amount of traction your product or service has in target market segments. It also determines the level of premium pricing you can achieve.  If you have zero Differentiating Value, it means you are selling only on price.

Did you catch that?  No DV means no premium pricing.  Actually, it means your salespeople are probably in a discounting war with far too many (all?) prospects.  You understand when we say DV is the foundation of all successful selling, this is why.

Now that your are into your DV process, it is crucial to refine and translate your DV.  You need to boil it down to its essence to make it powerful.  Think of this fact, it takes 10 GALLONS of maple sap to make 1 QUART of maple syrup.  It takes hours of boiling to reduce the sap (depending on sugar content).  You get the point - it is an arduous process that yields a valuable end product.  DV creation is analogous to the maple syrup process.

These DV questions must be addressed to make sure you get paid what you are worth:

  • What value do you bring to your customers? (Real value - no fluff)
  • How does the absence of your value show up in the prospect's world?
  • Where does it show up?
  • Who does it affect?

When your DV successfully answers these 4 questions, you are well on your way to handling these 2 sales objectives:

Bridging the communication gap with the prospect's world

Doing it in a way that will shorten the overall sales cycle

If you need help with any of these processes, we are always welcome to assist you.

DV Week Part 1-Drive Your Margins

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

We are spending the week on the most fundamental aspect of successful selling - Differentiating Value (DV).

There is an old saying in sales, "Price is what you pay, value is what you get."   Keep this in mind when you are formulating your DV.  People revert to price because it is the easiest metric to use when comparing like solutions.  If I can't truly differentiate between them, I'll just buy the lower priced solution.  You can't blame the prospect in this instance - they made the correct decision.

But shame on the salesperson.

A buying decision should never boil down to price.  If it does, the salesperson has failed to accomplish two mission-critical tasks:

  1. Differentiate their solution from all of the others
  2. Translate that differentiation into the prospect's world

Number 1:  Prospects, especially those in procurement, will spend great energy to remove your DV.  Their goal is to get your solution entered into a spreadsheet tracking prices.  Unless you are successfully running the lowest-priced solution, you are done if you end up here.

Value = margin, just ask Apple.  They don't sell nearly as many cell phones as Samsung (315 million units for Samsung vs. ~215 million units for Apple).  Yet, most everyone has heard of Apple becoming the first $1 trillion company.  Value = margin.

The salesperson's first priority is to establish their DV.  Differentiating their solution from all the other competing solutions provides the ability to qualify for fit.  Your solution will not be a fit for every prospect.  Testing for "fit" using your DV is crucial for qualifying whether you have a viable prospect or not.

Photo by  Frankie Guarini  on  Unsplash

Number 2:  Prospects will not translate your differentiating value into their world.  How does your DV show up in their world?  What pain does it fix?   Whose life will be easier with your solution?  What is that DV worth (beyond money to time, resources, reliability, etc.)?

DV is what you do that is unique or better than your competition.  It exists in the prospect's world.  It is not features and benefits.  It is not quality, service or support.

DV is what the prospect will lose if they decide not to do business with you.  This fact is the keystone to building your DV into the prospect's world.

You have to answer these questions to approach translating your DV to the prospect's world:

  • What value do you bring to your prospect's world?
  • What do they lose if they do business elsewhere?
  • How does your absence show up in their world (what, when, where, etc.)?
  • Who is most affected by your absence?

When you can articulate your answers to these questions, you will have defined your DV.  We have further questions and techniques to refine DV.  If you could use some assistance with your DV, please contact us today.

CRO Rule #6 - Prospect Motivation

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CRO Success Rule #6
A prospect can never have too much Motivation regarding your Differentiating Value.

We’ve written frequently about Differentiating Value (DV) which is foundational to all successful selling.  The key to DV is translating it into your prospect’s world.  What do they give up in the absence of your DV?  A critical question for sure.

However, usually the consequences of life without your solution aren’t horrible, they are just unknown.  Therefore, when you can translate the consequences of not being your customer into your prospects’ worlds, they can start envisioning their own perceptions of new possibilities.  The more their perceptions become compelling, the more traction your DV has in their decision process.

CRO Rule #5 - Differentiating Value = Premium Price

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CRO Success Rule #5
The breadth and depth of your Differentiating Value platform determines the amount of traction your product or service has in target market segments.  It also determines the level of premium pricing you can achieve.  If you have zero Differentiating Value, it means you are selling only on price.

In case you haven’t notice, Differentiating Value (DV) is a bedrock of all successful selling.  The more DV you have, the more valuable your solution is in the marketplace.  Here are 3 keys to refining your DV:

  • Define what matters to the customer – There is no point in highlighting benefits a customer doesn’t care about.
  • Be unique or demonstrably better – If the competition offers the same item, whatever that feature/service/product is, then that item is not your competitive advantage.
  • Be specific and measurable – Get rid of the fluff.  If you can’t be specific and/or measurable, you sound like every other competitor.

CRO Rule #4 - Find the "Emotional" Decision Maker

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CRO Rule #4
For a shorter sell cycle, your Differentiating Value message(s) should be directed toward the emotional decision maker, describing what he/she will lose without you.

People make decisions emotionally and later justify them intellectually.  This fact is critical to understanding the purpose of finding the emotional decision maker in any potential deal.  I explain how this principle works in my book, but for brevity let me offer this excerpt:

The emotional decision maker can be described as the one who suffers the consequences of life without you.

Emotional decision makers are usually harder to find, easier to close, not as price sensitive, and can typically tell the technical buyer what to do.

This fact is paramount as you develop, refine and implement your Differentiating Value.

CRO Rule #3 - No Decision IS a Decision

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CRO Rule #3
If a prospect decides not to do business with your company and there is no impact in his/her world as a result of that decision, the person made a good business decision.  As such, your Message objective is to make sure prospects understand what they will give up (lose) if they decide not to do business with you.

Last week we talked about Differentiating Value (DV) which is a fundamental component of successful selling.  This week we are going to apply DV to your messaging.

DV is what sets your solution apart from your competition.  The key is that the value cannot be tied to quality, service or support.  Those 3 bromides are the backbone of many marketing messages…and an ineffective approach.  The reason is these 3 traits are assumed by prospects and claimed by competitors.  They are the opening ante to enter the game and therefore are difficult topics in which to differentiate your solution.

The key in applying your DV to your message is this – in today’s market you have to clearly express what sets you apart from your competitors and your prospects must find this valuable.  I’m not talking about traditional features and benefits, rather the value you bring that differentiates your solution from your competitor’s.  When there is differentiation, then there is loss for not choosing your solution.  This fact is the key to your message.

CRO Rule #2 - Are You Worth More?

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CRO Rule #2
If you’re not clear about what makes you worth more, you will always compete on price.

We call it Differentiating Value (DV) and it is a foundational truth to any and all successful selling.  In essence, it is the key to what makes you worth more.  No DV, no deal…outside of having the lowest price.  The reason why?  From the Chief Revenue Officer! book:

1. Prospects do not invest the time required to fully understand all of your products or service “brilliance,” and even if they try, they frequently map your promoted feature/benefit data points into their world incorrectly.

Because of that fact…

2. Prospects make better decisions when you translate your unique product or service capabilities into their world for them.

Defining Your Differentiating Value

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The first step moving from a features & benefits-based, go-to-market model to a Differentiating Value (DV) approach is defining your Differentiating Value.

In B2B revenue models, the first question to ask is: How does my product / service improve the customer’s business? Forget the traditional quality, service and support pontifications. In B2B, quality, service and support are simply expected and all three are claimed by every competitor anyway so you get no differentiating points on these issues.

Look at the transaction from the prospect’s world and define how their overall performance is improved by having your product / service. That is your Differentiating Value and you can never have too much DV. Most prospects are already buying from someone else today so the more DV-based improvements your products deliver to the prospect’s business, the better platform you have for revenue growth.

The question always comes up…“What if they are happy with a competitor’s product and there doesn’t seem to be a benefit to making change?” This happens every day in sales. Our observation is one of two situations typically applies. If your product delivers substantial, compelling DV to your market and the sales rep has asked all the Critical Qualifying Questions for Motivation but the prospect is not responding, your rep is 1.) not connecting with the emotional buyer or 2.) the prospect is not a ‘fit’ for your DV. Assuming the prospect is not a fit for your DV, it is better to know that as early as possible in the sales cycle so you don’t waste time pursuing and forecasting dead end deals.

Brand is NOT Differentiating Value

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We spend a lot of time helping clients understand their Differentiating Value – what they bring to the market that is unique and/or better than the competition. The process is straight forward.

Differentiating Value is not:

  1. Features and benefits
  2. Value platform
  3. Brand
  4. Quality, service or support proclamations

Sales people have been trained to memorize and mimic the slogans and sound bites that always accompany these concepts. STOP! These exist in your world but not the prospect’s. If you base your positioning on these items, you will always enjoy longer sales cycles and perpetual discount requests – especially if your sales people lead with “We are the #1 brand in the market.”

Differentiating Value only exists in the prospect’s world – not yours. It is what the prospect is buying and that is typically not how you get paid. One of our clients is a materials science company that manufactures polymer pipe for the plumbing industry. Their engineered products allow homeowners to operate all water consumption devices (dishwasher, clothes washer, lawn sprinkler, etc.) concurrently and still have family and guests able to use all the showers in the house. Prospects are buying a convenience life style but the payment transaction is based on linear feet of pipe purchased. This is Differentiating Value.