Price is What You Pay, Value Is What You Get

Who can argue with Warren Buffet?

His legendary ability to get to the point is enviable. . .value is what you get. What prospects look for is value in all forms. In the end, it’s not at all about price. And if you think it is, keep moving.

The critical importance of a strong value proposition is one of my recurring themes in effective selling, especially in simplifying complex sales. A value proposition is to sales what the heart is to sustaining life.

World-class sales organizations consistently follow best practices, foremost of which is the creation of an unassailable value statement for every client or, at a minimum, every client segment. World-class players identify upfront exactly how they bring value to their clients, qualitative, quantitative, or both. Then, they capture, distill and translate that value into meaningful and compelling value statements that form the connective tissue of their messaging.

It’s Not About You

This effort is not as obvious to many firms as you may think. Not a month goes by that I don’t meet a sales team struggling to capture in words a powerful statement of value, one that counts with the prospect (not just themselves).

World-class sales organizations refine value messaging on a continuous basis, and cascade it across all potential client touch points. It’s integrated into the marketing brand promise, displayed on the corporate website, imbedded into marketing demand creation campaigns, and woven through all content, collateral and talking points, delivered by salespersons or advisors in the initial interaction with the prospect.

World-class sales organizations nestle close to their prospects, clients or customers. They’re master listeners, determined to learn from their customers, and with continuous loop feedback, apply customer experiences to the pursuit of future prospects. Consider this statistic from the Miller Heiman 2013 Sales Best Practices Study:


Get Aligned

Little wonder why those sales organizations with well-defined value propositions are regarded as world-class. At 96 percent, it’s in their DNA. They align with what customers or clients want. Now that sounds pretty simple, but if you look deeper into the Best Practices Study, from which the statistics above were drawn, you also discover that slightly more than one-quarter of firms indicated they were “aligned” with the prospect compared to 89 percent of world-class organizations.

When your organization’s core marketing and sales efforts are built around the core views of the customer, you’re more likely to succeed in:

  1. Targeting demand
  2. Shaping your product or service
  3. Connecting to the customer’s strategic issues

When you achieve alignment, a new world of sales opportunities open up:

  1. Marketing campaigns and sales initiatives roll out with precision
  2. Sales messages resonate and etch indelibly in customer/client interactions
  3. Client confidence grows because strategic messaging reflects through the eyes of the buyer

Find Opportunity

Over time, marketing has packed on some serious opportunity-creating muscle. Marketing now influences a high percentage of opportunities through social, outbound and other marketing strategies to drive interest and awareness. CRM systems are now indispensable to demand-generation campaigns and the flow of qualified leads. Even though marketing (on average) provides between 17-35 percent of the sales funnel, mostly for new account acquisition, sales teams still must create their own opportunities.

Let’s review: First, find an ideal customer/client profile to target. Second, learn what they really, really want. What do they hope to accomplish by working with you and your organization? What key issues are they facing in their business?

No point in marketing your products or services if you aren’t sure what your target prospect wants:

“People buy what they want, not what you think they need.”

Know your market top to bottom. Not only will you find opportunity, you’ll find closing sales flows more naturally, more easily. Isn’t that preferable to slogging through the usual suspects? Why push and shove and angle for the sale?

Because you understand your target prospect so well, you also know the desired end result he’d like to achieve. The closer you get to that desired end result, the more successful you become. Package your product and service toward that result, so you’re always meeting the needs of your customer/client.

When you’re really tuned into the needs of your prospects, you experience that rush of business, and the satisfaction that selling truly is one gratifying profession.

See you on the upside,


If you’d like a courtesy copy of the highly informative Miller Heiman 2013 Sales Best Practices Study, please reach out to me at [email protected] and I will forward it to you posthaste.

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