Sales Management Group

Are You Selling Products or Selling Value?

keyHere are three ways to sell a product. In this case, the product is a hypothetical computer system called Titan 2000.


  • The Titan 2000 processes 1 billion instructions per second.


  • The Titan 2000‘s computing power is comparable to other models in its class but at a significantly lower cost.


  • I understand reducing IT costs is a high priority for you. My analysis of your system suggests that Titan 2000 can cut your IT costs by as much as 25% while providing the computing power you need. The Titan 2000 pays for itself within a year.

What is your sales team selling? Features, Benefits, or Value?

Features vs. Benefits vs. Value

Let’s look at the differences between selling features, benefits, and value: 

  • Selling Features – The focus is primarily on the offering and the price – Here it is. Do you want some? Feature selling is best suited for commoditized offerings where price and availability are the distinguishing characteristics.
  • Selling Benefits – Benefits refer to reasons why a customer might want to buy something. Promoting benefits can get a prospect’s attention and—ideally — a meeting.
  • Selling Value – Addressing a known customer need results in selling value. This requires an understanding of the individual customer’s goals and problems, which a sales rep can learn only after talking to a customer.


Why Selling Value Matters

In many cases, your biggest competitor is not another company bidding on the same project. It’s the status quo. This is why selling “value” is so important.

A Sales Benchmark Index study showed that 58% of sales opportunities end with no decision or a decision to do nothing. Why? Because the buyer does not see the value in making a change.

Inertia is a powerful force. You can overcome it only by convincing the prospect that (a) They have  a problem, (b) They need to fix that problem soon; and (c) You have the solution. A and B are usually the biggest obstacles.

To overcome buyer inertia, your team must sell value. That means helping the prospect recognize the problem and creating an urgent desire to solve it.

Arming Your Team to Sell Value

To sell value effectively, your sales team should go into battle well-armed. Your job is to give the sales team the training, tools, and support they need to:

  • Learn your company’s sales strategy
  • Uncover the customer’s “pain”
  • Educate the customer

Learning the sales strategy

Always starts with strategy. What are your target markets, ideal customer profile, key offerings, and positioning? Why do your customers need what you sell?

Provide your sales team with the necessary training to make sure they understand your sales strategy, embrace it, and know how to execute it. To accomplish this, set aside at least two days a year for formal sales strategy training.   

Uncovering pain

Teach your sales reps how to find the prospect’s “pain.” Your reps should ask about goals and challenges.  Other questions:

  • How high a priority is this for you? Why?
  • What is it costing you not to make the change?
  • What opportunities are you missing? How much is that worth to you?
  • What would prompt you to make the change?
  • What’s your timetable for making the change?

This process is important. It’s a vital part of the sales effort. But it also qualifies the prospect.

Ideally, it will create a sense of urgency and prompt the buyer to act. On the other hand, if there is no urgency, that says something. Perhaps it’s time for the rep to move on to more promising prospects.

Educating the customer

Your reps need information to educate prospects about the issues and solutions. We’re not talking about sales brochures or other promotional literature.

To be convinced, a prospect needs hard facts – data which quantifies the impact of the problem or lost opportunity and the value of a solution.

Often this is third-party industry data. It can also be your info. But it has to be credible.

Invest in a library of useful tools your sales team can share with prospects. These could include

  • Articles/reports on industry trends
  • Case studies featuring client success stories
  • Free or low-cost assessments to identify problems
  • ROI and payback analysis tools to determine the value of making a change

Rule #1 – Understand Thy Customer

The key to selling value is understanding what the customer wants. That takes the right skills and the right tools.

Make the investment to arm your sales team effectively. There will be a big payoff. 

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