You’ve heard it a million times -- sell value, not features. Emphasize value, not price. Build value to build a relationship. Provide value with every touch.
But what does it even mean to “provide value”? What exactly do prospects care about, and how can you deliver it to them while also furthering your own goals?
The nine strategies below are easy ways to provide value to prospects while moving them down the funnel. But first things first ...
What’s the Buyer’s Journey?
A buyer’s journey is the steps any buyer must take to complete a purchase. The modern buyer’s journey consists of three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
In the Awareness stage, buyers seek resources to define and understand a problem they’re having. In the Consideration stage, buyers have understood their problem and are formulating potential strategies to solve it. Finally, in the Decision stage, buyers have chosen a specific solution and are evaluating different products.
Salespeople are typically more involved in the Consideration and Decision stages, but you can begin providing value before you ever connect with a prospect.
9 Ways Salespeople Can Provide Value to Prospects
Buyers at this stage don’t even know what they’re looking for yet. Salespeople should play the role of trusted advisor during this stage -- not only does doing so build trust, it also establishes an advisor-client relationship, not a traditional buyer-seller dynamic.
When you post content, err on the side of ungated blog posts or offers -- it’s better to engage prospects and wait to capture their contact information later than to ask for too much too soon.
1) Publish content.
The most direct way you can establish your expertise is to publish content on platforms like Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, a personal website, or your company blog. Think about the questions your prospects most commonly ask and the problems they most frequently face, then answer those questions through blog posts.
2) Answer questions on social media.
You should be following industry conversations on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other platforms that are commonly used in your industry. Devote 20 minutes a day to finding questions to answer on these channels and posting helpful, non-promotional advice.
3) Post in industry groups or relevant forums.
Identify forums or groups that are prominent in your industry (such as Quora or LinkedIn Groups) and share content regularly. This should not be promotional or product-specific information -- instead, choose content that demonstrates thought leadership and your expert knowledge. These groups are also a great place to find and answer prospect questions.
At this stage, buyers are likely more familiar with their problem and may even have come across your product in their research. Feel free to send more targeted information, or provide more specific content that requires a conversion to access. Marketing is generally still running the show at this stage, so don’t be too salesy.
1) Provide prospects with how-to blog posts.
If you already have a prospect’s email and a formal sales process has begun, send over blog posts that are super-specific to their problem. If not, share blog posts through social media on your profiles, as well as responding to prospect questions by pointing them toward your company blog.
2) Send prospects to gated offers or webinars.
If you don’t already have a prospect’s email or contact information but have been interacting with them on social media, the Consideration stage is a good time to begin directing them toward gated pieces of content, as long as it’s hyper-relevant to their problem.
Of course, if you already have their contact information, just send along the content as an attachment -- there’s no need to create another hurdle for your prospect.
3) Offer to run a consultative call.
Don’t say a word on this call about your product or offer your services in a sales capacity until you’ve identified real business pain that you can solve. If your prospect isn’t quite a good fit or they’re not ready to implement something like your product, make a recommendation for a better alternate solution.
The decision stage is where salespeople have the most work to do. Buyers have officially declared a problem, a potential solution, and now they need you to turn the disparate information they’ve gathered into a coherent strategy.
1) Demo your product.
This is the most straightforward way to show your prospect what they’d be signing up for. You should have established through discovery your prospect’s most pressing needs and gaps. Tailor a demonstration that ties together your product features into a story of exactly how your prospect will use the product and how it will make their life better.
2) Set up customer reference calls and case studies.
Even if you’re being as helpful as you can, your prospect still might not be 100% sold. After all, at the end of the day, they know you’re quota-carrying and have a personal stake in closing the deal. So set them up with your satisfied customers -- preferably ones who had similar business pain, or also chose you over the same competitors your prospect is evaluating.
3) Direct your prospect to third-party reviews.
Sometimes the most powerful sale isn’t done by a sales rep at all. Remove yourself from the equation (and all your perceived partiality) by pointing to third-party reviews that stack your product against a competitor’s so your prospect can see objective assessments of their options.
How do you provide value to your prospects? Let us know in the comments below.
Originally published Mar 9, 2016 8:30:00 AM, updated February 01 2017