Selling value – the power of a personal value proposition

Personal Value Propositions for Sales Reps

Winning in B2B sales means doing a better job helping customers arrive at a more comprehensive view of their needs and more compelling views of your solution. In short, it is about formulating and delivering superior value.

Because of global competition and advanced manufacturing technologies, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sustain a competitive advantage by product alone.  Today, a sales force must not only sell a competitive advantage; they must be a competitive advantage.

This means a sales force’s ability to communicate the value of the product being sold is insufficient.  A sales team must be able to create value by the way they sell, as well as, by what they sell. Let’s examine this idea by using the concept of a value proposition.   

Traditionally, a value proposition is a clearly defined statement designed to communicate that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than competitors’ offerings.  Most of the marketing work around value propositions has been solution-centric to a targeted customer base.

Because of the increased importance of creating value by the way you sell, perhaps it’s time to add the notion of a Personal Value Proposition. What might it look like?

Because of unique talents, skills, and attitudes every sales rep is particularly good at certain tasks and activities related to bring value to their customers.  But the ultimate purpose of a value proposition is about a competitive advantage.

So, when creating a Personal Value Proposition it’s important to distinguish a personal competitive advantage from simply what one is good at.  A Personal Value Proposition is something you do better than other sales reps … Better because you are able to help the customer develop a more comprehensive set of needs, better because you have a more compelling communication process for helping the customer formulate needs, or better because you are more effective at linking the customer needs to your solution, or better because of your ability to develop and maintain relationships.

Is it useful for sales reps to develop their own Personal Value Proposition?  In answering that question, it is important to note that a Personal Value Proposition, unlike a value proposition, is not communicated to customers.  Rather, it is something to help sales reps constantly test and redefine how they create value for the customer better than other sales people. So, our answer is yes – reps should develop a Personal Value Proposition and sales managers should help.

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©2012 Sales Horizons, LLC

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About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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