This week I had an insight into the concept of perceived value that came out of visiting with my brother, Jim. We were in Madison, Wisconsin for a family function. As we live across the country from each other, we rarely get together. I was wearing one of my Disneyland hats and commented that it really is “the happiest place on earth.” He disagreed. He felt ripped off when he took his family to Disney World. He wanted to buy his daughters some refreshing treat until he found out that this item, which he could normally buy for $.75 would cost him $5.00 at Disney World.
I understood how he felt as he’s right. When you’re in a Disney park, if you want it, you pay the price they want to charge. Then it dawned on me. This is the brother who plays golf all the time. And he’s complaining about prices at Disney World for something he’s only going to pay for once, yet he gladly pays his golf fees?
To play golf, you need your own clubs and balls. You willingly pay the club for the privilege of going for a walk in their “park.” You can rent a little two person cart for almost the price of a day’s automobile rental. Then, just because this is a “golf course,” you pay a hefty fee for the right to walk nine or 18 “holes” while you hit at a little ball that you brought. The point is it’s all in what’s important to you personally. It’s all about perceived value.
Salespeople, including soft sell salespeople, get all excited about what their products and services can do for their customers. They often provide something they consider value-added. But is it? Maybe.
• Some customers already expect this service as part of the purchase – can you imagine buying a new car that has no warranty?
• Some customers could care less about this extra, for instance a free ink jet printer with purchase of the computer when the customer already has three printers which give superior performance to the “bonus.”
• The customer actually wants this added value and feels it will make him happier with his purchase.
So, before you brag about the value you’re adding, talk with them. Ask questions to find out what they’re interested in. Listen, then ask more questions. Be sure that what you want to add is important to them or offer something they care about.
Like my brother Jim’s and my discussions on the relative merits of Disney’s markup on treats versus the cost of the golf course fees, our prospects and customers have views that may differ from ours as to what’s a value-added service or product. If they don’t care about it, regardless of how much you spent on it, it wasn’t value-added. And while I believe in soft sell sales and marketing and in asking questions, I too can get carried away in my excitement only to find my client didn’t care. Sometimes I catch on that they aren’t as excited as I am. But when I do it right, it’s magic. We connect, and we build a sales relationship that’s fun, fulfilling and mutually rewarding.
My first Kindle eBook, How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses, went live on April 24, 2012. https://amzn.to/2BaP2AH I've lived a lifetime of service and spiritual search so it's natural for me to incorporate these attitudes into my work. I believe that selling and marketing are spiritual service when done with a heart-centered, relationship selling approach. All of business success comes down to building strong relationships.
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