February 24, 2012

In a competitive marketplace, how do you differentiate your offerings from all of the others? You can achieve sales optimization by clearly defining the attributes that make your product or service better, or worth the price. This is known as value-added selling.

Value-added selling is a technique that is a flexible and customized approach. It calls for input from average customers. They can help determine value positions that are likely to benefit the largest number of prospects. In other words, if you understand what people are willing to pay more for, or what cost-benefit ratio works best for them, you can use that in your approach.

One way to demonstrate the value add of your offering is to determine any benefits other than the standard use. For instance, hybrid cars are a value-added product. They function like any other car – to get you from one place to another – but they have the added value of being fuel (cost) efficient and better for the environment.

Once you’ve determined if there’s an inherent added value in your product, you should also consider providing something along with your product to give it an edge. Here are “add-ons” that could provide greater value to your customers.
  1. Provide customers with excellent customer service. Make certain you have after-hours phone numbers and quick response.
  2. Offer delivery that is either free, fast, same-day, or the least expensive.
  3. Provide guarantees and/or extended warranties.
  4. Train their salespeople on site.
  5. Supply packaging and labeling. Include bar-coding, customization, pre-kitting.
  6. Where possible, promote e-commerce with an interactive website. Include ordering, tracking, order history.
  7. Offer volume discounts
  8. Present technical services, engineering and design services with failure analysis and testing.
  9. Provide market information they cannot obtain on their own.
In a saturated market, there are other ways to differentiate your offerings through targeting. Pick a target market, or niche, then go narrower and deeper. Determine what you do that is better, faster, cheaper than your competition, then create a profile of your ideal customer.

For these ‘specialized’ customers, be ready to repackage, bundle, or unbundle your offerings as needed. You may also need to offer guarantees that go beyond the competition, or use performance-based contracts.

In short, giving your prospects a tangible, or easily appreciated value add-on to your offerings will provide the extra push needed to close the sale. Where there is high-volume competition, or lower price competition, value-added selling gives a justification for choosing you.

What sort of value-add techniques do you use when selling?
For more on this technique, and other selling skills, contact us today.