At its core selling is a value exchange proposition. OK so saying that, is not exactly profound. Of course selling is a value exchange. The client gives you money and you give them a service or product in return.
However the value exchange begins to happen much earlier in the sales process than most of us consciously think about.
A value exchange needs to takes place to get their consent to present your solution to them. They need to think that they will get value from the presentation itself.
...And before this, in a consultative selling environment, you need to get consent to discuss with them the specific issues that you may be able to help them address. They need to know that by discussing their issues with them that you will be able to offer valuable analyses and guidance.
...And before this, ideally, the value exchange needs to happen at the point your sales process begins. The sales process begins with your marketing. This means it will often happen before the first time you talk to the prospective client. Don't be afraid to extend information of real value in your marketing. Hey SalesFish gives away 15 chapters of the sales manual for just this reason (and to demonstrate specific competency).
A great place to start the sales persons interaction from, would be a community of potential customers who are pre-informed about you and your solutions ....and who are well disposed towards you. Ideally it would be best if you could place your self at the centre of this community.
One popular first step in buiding such a community has traditionally been to post or email this pool of potential future clients a regular newsletter. It's been very popular for years - because it works. One of the first steps is to build up a permission list of people that agree to receive your newsletters. There's a wide line here between sending unsolicitied push advertising (spam) and providing information that is anticipated and valued. Remember your newsletter must contain information of genuine value if you want it to be consistently read instead of shredded ...and to preserve your valuable permission list. I highly recommend Seth Godins book 'Permission Marketing'.
In his brilliant landmark book, 'How to Win Friends & Influence People', Dale Carnegie says that people only ever do something because they want to. At each step of the way, we need to ask, what nugget of value can we offer our prospective customers and clients to retain consent throughout the sales and marketing process?
Ideally these 'value nuggets' should also demonstrate our specific competencies to assist in building their trust and confidence in us.
by Liam Venter: Author of the popular sales training manual
'The Consultative Sales Professional'
You can obtain a copy here