Wayne explains that ‘value’ is by definition is “anything the customer is willing to pay for”. He goes on to say that it is vital that we need to assess everything we do in the sales process to ensure it is creating value for the customer – by doing this, and ensuring we are not doing anything that the customer does not value, we will maximise the return from our selling activities. In doing so we also reduce cost by avoiding wasteful activities.
In this interview Wayne tells us a story about a company who achieved outstanding results by applying these principles
This is one for sales leaders, CSO’s, CEO’s and CFO’s who are striving to improve sales productivity and grow profitable revenue.
Wayne Moloney is a leading business strategist specialising in sales and business development. Wayne has a very specific specialisation in ‘lean selling’.
John: Welcome back! I’ve got Wayne Moloney with me again, and Wayne’s a business strategist with a specific focus on sales and business development, and his specialisation is lean selling. Welcome back, Wayne!
Wayne: Thanks, John!
John: Wayne, our last discussion I found fascinating, and you really brought home this topic of selling value and eliminating waste through ‘lean selling’.
John: Today I’d like to talk a little bit about the subject of value and what you mean by that in ‘lean selling’.
Wayne: By definition value’s anything that the customer’s prepared to pay for.
Wayne: One of the problems that we have in any business, and particularly in sales, is we often mistake value with dollar terms, with price.
John: I see it all the time, yes.
Wayne: Yeah. People tell me they buy on price. They don’t, they buy on value. And value can be in not just dollar terms but, as I said, it can be time. Theophrastus, the Greek philosopher, once said “the most valuable thing a man can spend is his time” – and we need to consider that in the sales process. So, how do we spend less time to close the sale, and how do we encourage our prospect to spend more time with us so that we can work with them to come up a solution that’s best for them.
John: But obviously productive time. A customer doesn’t want to spend time with you if it’s not productive for them.
Wayne: Absolutely. So therefore we need to position ourselves to become a trusted advisor.
John: [laugh] The old term, eh?
Wayne: An old term. A classic example: I worked with an IT security company recently, and the main area of their business, the most profitable area of the business was in their consulting services and they were excellent at that. But they also provided a very vast range of what I refer to as commodity items, they’re security items that are sold – basically boxes. The process that they had in place was the same from one end of the spectrum to the other.
John: Whether they were selling the product or whether they were selling the consulting services.
Wayne: Absolutely. They were using the same people and the same processes right throughout. Now, the prospect or the client didn’t really need to engage with the salesperson to make the product sale.
John: They could probably buy it off a website or something, couldn’t they?
Wayne: Absolutely, and that was what was necessary to be done. Unfortunately they didn’t have this process in place, so they were wasting time, their time and the client’s time, because they weren’t giving the client the opportunity to buy it in the most effective way.
Wayne: So we changed the process. And again, the term “process” comes in. We changed the process, we introduced a way that just with some telephone support the clients were able to come online and purchase, or they were able to ring a call centre and purchase over there. It reduced the amount of time that was being spent, and the resources that were being wasted, effectively, on that low-end sale were then able to be deployed into the top-end. As a result, higher revenue and higher profits.
John: So, the salespeople that were now focused purely on the consulting and driving the value through that discussion and that activity, just on consulting and not worrying too much about the product.
John: I understand. I can see the value of really focusing on value, and in that case waste as well.
Wayne: Correct. If you’re focusing on value and only delivering what the customer’s prepared to pay for then by default you’re reducing waste.
John: Makes a lot of sense. Thank you very much for the advice, Wayne! I look forward to our next discussion.
Wayne: Thanks, John!
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