Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 21, 2012 9:10PM
In 1776, Adam Smith, a Scottish philosopher and economist, wrote “wealth is created when people trade things (that they) of value.” His wise words explained why there is so much diversity in the marketplace and more importantly goes against the recent emphasis on value creation by those in sales and small business.
Value creation by salespeople is not possible because value begins within the perception of the buyer. In other words, the value already existed and cannot be created by the salesperson or through any marketing channel.
When small business owners recognize buyers establish value and then begin to construct a “Buyer’s Value Bridge” then will begin to not only build much stronger relationships, but will also increase sales.
So the better question might be, “How do I connect my solution to my potential customer’s (a.k.a. qualified prospect) value perception?”
The first step is to return to the strategic plan specific to “your ideal customer profile” to ensure you are speaking with the right person and have a solid grasp of current market trends and forces.
Next, it may make sense to conduct a survey of current customers to confirm the psychographics behind the buying decision. Psychographics are often ignored and they reflect value perception. From this collected data, course corrections can be made to the existing plans of sales, marketing, customer loyalty and even innovation.
Taking an inventory of your own decision-making styles as well as key attributes or talents might also be necessary. Possibly you may not be aware of what you really do well and how those talents can be integrated into your current marketing and sales efforts.
Often we hear the comment about “working smarter not harder” and that is probably disingenuous. How often do people work hard on what they don’t do well while ignoring or not knowing what they do, do well? Once clarity is confirmed about what we do well, we can work even harder and with greater smarts because we are no longer focused on what we do not do well.
Within the overall sales process, specific marketing and selling skills may also need to be further honed. Active listening is probably the first and most important sales skill. Additionally, learning how to ask a combination of open ended and close ended questions is critical when engaged within the selling phase of the sales process.
Uniting our sales skills with emotional intelligence probably is also another good tactic. Emotional intelligence continues to be an identifiable leadership trait that separates successful sales people, executives, etc., from less than successful ones.
If your goal is to increase sales, then consider understanding value from the eyes of your existing customers and future ones. By remembering the words of Adam Smith, you just may increase your own wealth as well as the wealth within your community.
P.S. Shout Out To: Parents as Teachers of Lake County and Health Link Community Health Center of Valparaiso.