EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 24, 2012

What is the most misused word in the world of sales?

The most misused word in sales will surprise you. It’s “value.”

Value is a misguided, misused, maligned word, whose meaning has gone fallow. It is used without meaning, understanding, and implication. It’s bantered about in a way that customers (including yours) are becoming numb to anything related to the word.

Value has become an empty buzzword — it’s like the word paradigm, only dumber, because you can’t define value in terms of the customer if your life depended on it.

REALITY: When you print or speak the word value, it’s usually from your perspective. Your self-defined value. The value you put on your product or service, your value statement, your value proposition, your added-value or worse (the slang that no one can define), your “value-add.”

GRIM REALITY: Whether implied, given, added, printed or spoken, the key word that makes “value” both misused and misunderstood is PERCEIVED. If the customer or prospect does not perceive value, no matter what you say, there is none. The customer’s perception of value is your reality and the customer’s perception is all that matters. Your sales hang in the balance.

VALUE CLARIFICATION: When a salesperson says, “The value-add is: and whatever they say implies you gotta buy before you get any value” — not good. It sounds insincere, and is usually somewhere close to bogus. It’s not value — it’s JACK — and “jack,” in case you’re not from Philly, is half of a word.

Ask yourself these questions to discover if there’s any real value in your value offering:

• Do I have to buy something to get the value offered?

• Is there a pitch at the end of the free valuable information?

• Am I required to do something in exchange for the value?

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