We all want to bring in bigger numbers, but that doesn’t always mean bringing in new business. You can easily use your current customer base to increase your income.
In this lesson, we will look at three easy ways to pump up your sales numbers: up-selling, cross-selling, and value-added selling. We will focus in particular on this latter idea, and teach you how to give customers more bang for their buck, and ensure that they return to you time and time again.
Enhancing Your Sales
This means selling the customer more of your services than originally requested, or a better, more expensive service in the same area. For example, the customer may come in looking for a hoe. You suggest a rototiller, which would be much easier on his/her back and faster too!
If you choose this technique, you must be well prepared to explain the benefits of the product. If you can help the customer make an emotional connection to your service or product, they just might buy it. On the other hand, you have to be careful that you are still recommending something the customer needs, and that they don’t feel like you are pushing them to something that is on your own agenda.
This means selling the customer an additional item or items that complement the original request. For example, you may suggest that while the customer is getting a new car loan, they may want you to do a consolidation of their other loans. Or, electronics purchases can also include a service plan. Again, you have to present these benefits to the purchaser without being pushy.
Historically, “value-added” is a concept in which a company purchases raw materials and does something to these materials that adds value to the buyer. “Value-added” now refers to how the seller changes, enhances, or improves the basic product to increase its value to the buyer. The salesperson finds out what is of value to the buyer and then finds ways to increase the value of the offering.
The value-added philosophy acknowledges there are two sets of needs in any sale: your buyer has a need to solve a problem, and you have a need to sell a product or a service for a profit. In a value-oriented sales environment, both of you achieve your goals. The value-oriented salesperson is constantly looking for ways to enhance his/her product, service, or company for the buyer, while preserving his/her margins.
When you embrace this philosophy, you are making a big commitment. You are making a commitment to your company by leveraging your sales time well. You are pursuing your commitment to sell more profitably. You are slowly making a commitment to your buyer to actively seek ways to increase the value of your offering to him or her. You are also making a commitment to yourself; a commitment to realizing the performance potential within you.
Value is in the eye of the beholder. Value is determined by a buyer’s unique set of factors, and we value other things besides price. As Mark Twain said, “It’s the difference of opinion that gives us the horse race.”
Facts and Myths
There are some myths about value-added selling. Some believe that value-added selling only applies to very complex technical sales. Wrong! Some of the most successful value-added organizations sell a commodity identical to those of four or five other companies in the area. They have simply learned how to differentiate or package their product.
Some people think that only the product can have value added. Both the salesperson and the vendor can add value to the product. This kills the myth that only managers or those high up in the chain of command can design and deliver added value for customers.
Some people think that because it’s not unique, it doesn’t count. There are salespeople who remain silent about some of the special features or benefits of their product because everyone could say the same about their product. One example is the cell phone that can offer travelers some protection against being stranded along the road. Yes, every cell phone has that benefit, but not all companies, or all sales people, talk about that benefit. Plus, not all cell phone companies have service coverage along all roadways!