The Fog Of Value Added Selling

When you hear the expression value added do you conjure up foggy images of something good, but a concept that is not quite specific? This article will cut through the fog of value added jargon. Here are specific ideas of what value added selling can do to increase your business.

What is it? The definition of value added that fuels our selling creativity comes from the experience of an executive who visited Epcot Center. He went to learn about customer satisfaction. He always believed that customers should be given more than they expect, but he had a fuzzy notion of what that was. The specifics were pointed out to him when a juggler caught his attention. The Disney official said, "You didn't come to Epcot thinking you were going to see that juggler. That's extra." Simply put, when customers expect X, we must deliver X plus something more to be value added.

The Specifics. With technology at our fingertips, more information is available in a much shorter period of time. We can offer more information to assist our customers. They now expect us to respond to their needs and problems much faster, too. Our challenge is meeting our goals when we have more to do and meeting our customer needs in less time. Maintaining a sense of urgency will help you serve your customers better. It starts with making sure your customers can make contact with you quickly. Voice mail is fine. Eve if you respond no later than 24 hours, it's not enough.

When a customer calls with a question or a problem, your sense of urgency is a major part of the added value you deliver. More is required than asking when they want the information. What you bring to your customer is like a piece of a puzzle. Your piece fits into the whole picture of your customer's operation. Find out what their deadlines are so you are certain to meet them. See where your projects fit into your customer's corporate goals and objectives. By understanding the whole picture, you will be able to provide more than what was expected. You'll be able to respond with something extra.

Do you have what it takes? You need to know more than what is required. You have to want to do more. To be successful salespeople, we need to function autonomously, almost like franchisees. We are like franchisees in that our companies have an interest in our performance and we support them by our selling. In a survey done by Nations Business the traits of a successful franchisee were truly enjoying what they were doing; having relevant business experience; willingness to work hard; and a positive attitude.

Successful franchisees think for themselves and make spot decisions. They have a purpose and an attitude of optimism and tenacity. They rule the partnership with their customers. Salespeople are no different. They look for new ways to serve and to help their customers. This includes referring business to our customers and providing solutions to problems that only indirectly involve us. Successful salespeople can think for themselves. They also think for their customers and have a burning desire to do more. That attitude and what a salesperson does with it adds value.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Selling. Copyright: Maura Schreier-Fleming

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