Approaching your prospect with a strong value proposition is vital to your sales success. While many salespeople simply reuse the value proposition they’ve developed for each product or service (regardless of their prospect’s situation or role in the company), a sales professional customizes his or her value proposition based upon the person with whom he or she is speaking. Why is this an essential part of the sales process? Because each prospect measures his or her own success using a different yardstick. You need to come to the table with a value proposition that makes the most sense when viewed through each of their lenses.
Today, we’ll explore the yardsticks that some of the key decision-makers use to measure their success. For the sake of example in this hypothetical sales situation, suppose we are an HVAC sales professional selling “smart valves” that help the building utilize its chilled water more effectively:
The Chief Executive Officer: Your job is to sell smart valves. The chief executive's job – at least as determined by the Board of Directors that hired him – is to manage the organization and to make the enterprise more valuable. It shouldn't come as any surprise that when the CEO listens to this spiel about putting smart valves in his building, the first two questions he wants to have answered are:
- Would this installation make my organization easier to manage?
- Would this make my enterprise more valuable?
The Chief Sustainability Officer: The CSO is not responsible for managing the organization; however, he or she is responsible for making sure that the company adopts any and all viable “green” practices. The first three questions that the Chief Sustainability Officer will likely want to have asked and answered are:
- Would this technology reduce this building’s carbon footprint?
- Would installing this technology entitle us to additional LEED®points?
- Could this technology help us attain an ENERGY STAR®label?
The Chief Financial Officer: As you might imagine, the CFO is primarily concerned with maximizing the return – and minimizing the risk – of any purchase he or she authorizes. The first two questions that the CFO wants to have asked and answered are:
- Would installing these smart valves be a viable alternative to purchasing another chiller to address increased cooling demand?
- Could this product meet our cooling demand without putting us in the red financially?
The Chief Engineer: Unlike the previous three players, the chief engineer may actually have the technical knowledge to evaluate your smart valve solution from an engineering standpoint. In this situation, it is appropriate to delve into the technical details that you would typically relegate to the “Technical Appendix” of your proposal. The first two questions that the chief engineer wants to have asked and answered are:
- How much more visibility would these smart valves provide regarding the operation of our chillers/pumps/etc.?
- Would this solution allow me to monitor the flow and the difference in temperature, and help maximize Delta T in my loop so I am making sure that I am not wasting energy pumping chilled water around the building without actually transferring heat from one location to another?
How you decide to address the questions and concerns of each of these players will determine your success at capturing and retaining their attention.