Selling the value of values

Sometimes the “invisible” value of a product or service, created by values and culture, is not properly appreciated by the customer. This happens especially with buyers who do not understand the difference between lowest price and lowest total cost.

We need to make the invisible visible. But to achieve visibility, words are not enough. In fact, the use of words to express values can often even be counterproductive.

Let’s say HONESTY is a core value. Don’t say, “honestly speaking”; don’t announce that you’re making “an honest offer”; and don’t use the word “honest” on your business card. Live and act it instead. You could, for example, bring the customer’s attention to the fact that, without your help, he may order something from you that is more expensive than necessary. As you advise him on how to get it cheaper, he may think you are a little naïve, a little fearful, or a little stupid. Don’t worry; his thinking says more about him than about you. When you see patronising disbelief in a buyer’s face instead of gratitude, look him straight in the eyes and say, “You may think I am a little naïve. Well, maybe I am. Or maybe I am not. Maybe I know that, for this type of product, my honesty will be top of mind when you’re looking for a reliable partner rather than an exchangeable vendor.”

If INNOVATION is a core value, don’t talk or write about being “innovative.” Instead, be innovative—in the design of your business card, in the way you communicate with the customer, and in the unobtrusive but effective way you catch their attention.

If ROBUST engineering is the most important thing, ensure you have a product with a transparent casing, or actually drop the product on the floor during the presentation. For a unique sales personality, the creative possibilities are limitless.

Don’t talk about values. People are fed up with cheap talk. Rather, BE your values. ACT your values. Be aware of your limitations. In doing so, you will attract the right type of customers.