Provide value, not a commodity

Mike Ketcherside, MTM Recognition

When interacting with your customers, are you selling a product or are you selling what that product will do to make their lives easier? In other words, are you providing value? I have ten keys to selling in a commodities-driven world that will help you sell on value, not price.

1. Stay away from purchasing.

Purchasing has one job and one job only and that is to find the best price. When you’re pitching to new customers, avoid the purchasing department – they’ll butcher you.

2. Stay away from contracts if at all possible.

At the end of a contract, your client go out and bid other vendors. If you never have a contract in place, the conversation never arises of shopping new partners.

3. Referrals not prospects.

If you haven’t read ‘Cold Calling for Cowards,’ the author says “If you like to prospect you’re probably lying or you’re really strange.” I think we’d all agree that a referral is much better than an prospect.

4. Calling on the right people.

There are three important things to remember when you’re trying to get in touch with the right person:

  1. The buyer must have the money and the budget
  2. They must have the authority to make the decision
  3. They must have a need for your product or service

5. Local representation.

For MTM, being in Oklahoma is a strength for our company. We stay active in the community and that’s a big strength for us. We’re not thousands of miles away, we can stop by your office and visit with you face-to-face.

6. Good branding.

If you have a strong brands, take advantage of it. If you don’t try to find a way to sell around that until you can build your brand. We take advantage of our strong brand and a arsenal behind us that allows us to go out and be successful.

7. Trust.

Sell something and earn the right to be there. Trust is a big deal. I like Stephen Covey’s book ‘The Speed of Trust’ where he talks about the four pillars of credibility:

  1. Integrity
  2. Intent
  3. Capability
  4. Results

8. Passion.

Customers can feel your passion. When you’re not passionate about what you’re selling, they can see right through it and in the end they’ll choose a competitor who showed more passion and enthusiasm for their business.

9. Ask for help.

Never be too afraid or ashamed to admit you need help from someone. Often, that vulnerability will humanize you and get you in the door faster.

10. Quit trying to sell a product.

Sell a solution. The book ‘Think Like a Customer’ talks about our assumption that customers are looking a certain product. They’re actually looking for results. Deliver the right results and you’ll find a customer.

As you can probably tell, I do read a lot of books and magazines. As an avid runner, I subscribe to Runner’s World, which published a quote recently that said, “Growth and comfort seldom ride the same horse.” I would add the word sales in front of that and say, “Sales, growth and comfort seldom ride the same horse.” Don’t be afraid to step out your comfort zone!

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