One of the most powerful attributes of value selling is that it should give you visibility on what people care about – how they’re motivated, what their personal goals are, etc.
People think that they buy based on data and analysis. But they don’t. You don’t. I don’t. I buy the running shoes because they’ll make me look faster on the trails or at Starbucks. You buy the solar panels or EV because it underscores your care for the environment.
A coworker once told me that she was going to sell her 911 Cabrio to buy a Tesla (back when Tesla was cool)…because she wanted to save money on gas.
Um, no. She was going to lose thousands of dollars on the transaction, so the financial justification was weak. However, the new car was going to signal her care for the planet, which was her real motivation for the purchase.
Corporate buying is no different. Whether it’s a new AI chatbot to improve the experience of your customer, or the repurchase of another thousand Chromebooks, at the base of the decision is feeling rather than data.
Here’s a great quote on change management, and after all, selling is all about change management:
See – feel – change is more effective than analyze – think – change.
The process used here is “See, Feel, and Change”, as opposed to “Analyze, Think, and Change”. The latter is all head, no heart, and often fails to motivate people to recognize the importance of a given problem.
As part of my enablement work, I leverage story telling, developing customer vignettes – the people, personas, their “care-abouts”. I explore individual MBOs and what an MBO represents. To drive the point home for the sales people in the session, I show a jet ski, something that the lead purchaser intends to buy with their MBO. I actually get groups of sales people to yell “jet ski” when I ask what motivates that individual.
They get it.
While data is nice, don’t kid yourself. People don’t make decisions based on TCO or ROI. Do you need to check those boxes? Absolutely. But a good ROI argument doesn’t get you off BAU. Getting a customer to feel why different is better starts the real consideration process, otherwise the (perceived) RISK hurdle is just too great.