You have been making value perceptions and value judgments your entire life.
You may call them decisions, moments of truth, or actions. Intuitively they focus around value - and your perception of it - or the weight you put toward it as these decisions or actions are taken or made.
It's the same in sales, but in the selling process there are two values of perception and two value judgments. One is the value perception and judgment you make, and the other is the value perception and judgment the customer makes.
Obviously the customer's value judgment and perception rules the selling process. However, you, the salesperson, have a major impact on how the value is perceived and ultimately how their judgment is made.
Your value judgments come from:
How you feel about your company.
How you feel about your product.
How you feel about yourself.
How you feel about the customer and their buying process.
You've placed a value on yourself that reflects in your selling skills, your attitude, your belief system, your truthfulness, and your ethics. If you are willing to compromise any of those, you'll never be a successful salesperson in the long term.
And then there is the customer. Whether they're an existing customer or a prospect, they're making all kinds of value judgments about you, your product, and your company - in that order.
Much of their judgment about you is being made during the presentation itself, but as the digital age progresses many of these perceptions and judgments are made way before you (the salesperson) enter the scene.
These days, Mother Google can create preconceived value notions that don't simply revolve around your product or your price; that's just one part of the equation. Your personal reputation and your company's reputation play a major role in the customer's perception and judgment of value.
MAJOR UPSIDE-DOWN CLUE: Every salesperson uses Google to find more information about the company and the person they are going to meet. That same salesperson NEVER takes the same amount of time to Google themselves to see what the potential customer is finding out about them.
It's a major mystery to me why salespeople still believe they are invisible. Meanwhile, your reputation (and/or lack of it) is totally available to the customer way before you ever enter their office.
The majority of salespeople, most likely including you:
Do not have a business Facebook page.
Have never tweeted.
Do not have a personal website.
Do not have a blog.
Do not have a YouTube channel.
Have less than 500 LinkedIn connections.
What could they (you) be thinking?
It will take your prospective or existing customers less than one minute to do a complete Internet search on you, and it's most likely you have never done one on yourself. Your sales hang in the balance.
WRONG THINKING: People with no Internet presence, people with no brand presence, and people with little personal reputation will all make the feeble excuse that the customer is only buying price anyway. They (you) are foolishly incorrect.
If your customer is looking to make a value judgment before you arrive, what are they going to find?
NOTE WELL: If a customer is looking to make a value judgment or value perception during your presentation, a good portion of that will occur way before the presentation takes place.
I've just given you a re-definition of the word "value" by adding the words perceived (perception) and judgment. These are the words your customer mentally uses as he or she is deciding.
Notice I have not used the words "add" or "added" when referring to the word value, nor will I ever.
Your biggest job as a salesperson is to create you own value and reputation in the marketplace, so that when your prospective customer is looking for information about you, it will credibly be there.
I have listed the value-based elements you need to succeed. I am challenging you that youprobably don't have them, and now it's time for you to make your own value judgment if it is worth the investment of time to create them.
In my opinion it's not an option, it's an imperative.
Show me the value, and I'll give you the sale.
• • •
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of "The Sales Bible" and "The Little Red Book of Selling." President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at trainone.com. He can be reached at 704-333-1112 or by e-mail at email@example.com