‘Adding value’ are popular words in sales, and for good reason – if we’re not adding value to the lives of our prospects and customers, we can’t expect them to care about what we’re selling.
You may have a lot of resources available, whether it’s pricing sheets, delivery timetables, product samples, etc. However, the time will quickly come when your competitors have those resources as well. To differentiate ourselves in the eyes of prospects, we must be the ones bringing unique value to the table, and that means bringing resources prospects can’t get anywhere else.
To learn how to develop resources that no other salesperson offers, we sat down with David Vartanian, a former sales executive with Anheuser-Busch and co-founder of Tidbits. He shared a system he’s used to develop new products and resources to ensure he and his sales teams were the ones offering more value to prospects than anyone else in their market.
Since we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it, and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: To know when to trigger a system that identifies resources we don’t currently have, David recommends forgetting about starting with yourself. Instead, start with your customer.
Keep in mind that resources don’t always look like product spec sheets or a list of features. Sometimes the resources our prospects need the most are the things they’ve gotten used to living without. However, if you can solve the challenge for them, they’re going to keep you top of mind even if they’re not buying what you’re selling today.
Ask what needs your consumer has that aren’t currently being fulfilled? That way, you can show up with those resources in the sales call and not delay the value you can provide by waiting to hear from them what their challenges might be.
If you are new to your market and don’t have any peers to lean on to learn what challenges your prospects usually have, keep your ears open during any conversations you do have with prospects or customers that in any way align with something your company can solve, someone in your network can help with, or if it’s something that you’ve encountered in the past with another prospect that you can lend some insight into.
R – Repeatable: To make this process repeatable, David says to listen to the needs your target market has. How do they use what you sell? When? What challenges precede the need for them to go searching for a solution? What would a solution look like that you would actually use?
By asking those initial questions across your prospects, customers, and even online communities, you’ll hear about challenges that are currently facing your prospects, and that means they have a need for resources that’s going unfulfilled.
Once we know that more than one or two people need a resource in a specific area that would set us apart as the salesperson bringing more value, David says we need to create a prototype of the resource. Think of this as a ‘first draft’. By creating a test resource, we can field it across a few prospects or customers and ask, “Does this solve the challenge you were having or at least mitigate its effects?”
Pay attention to the feedback you get at this stage, as it will help you refine the resource you’re creating, whether it’s a physical item like a product sample, a written item like a white paper or user guide, or even an electronic platform like an app.
With that feedback, update your resource so it will better solve the problem your prospects have. You can even ask your ‘beta test group’ who they know that the resource would benefit to generate referrals you can share the resource with.
I – Improvable: To improve the way you’re designing and refining resources to add value to the lives and businesses of your prospects, David says to check in with the folks you’ve provided the resource to if that resource solved the problem.
It’s another reason to reach out to a prospect and shows you care about solving their challenges. If they can’t find a way to improve it, then be sure to ask, “If it was at 110%, what would it need to look like or do for you?”
You may not be able to design the next level of the resource, but even a small improvement can have massive effects on future iterations and future sales.
M – Measurable: To measure the impact of your new resource and whether it’s worth continuing to use, David says to measure sales velocity, not necessarily just overall sales. If the resource doesn’t position you as a preferred partner, then it may be worth going back to the drawing board and redesign it.
Resources that solve prospect problems should not only provide immediate value but also make prospects more likely to purchase from you.