Over the last couple of years we have commented a number of times on the increasing commoditisation of different markets and how this has adversely affected customers’ perceptions of the products or services they are buying.
The trend towards commoditisation is happening across a diverse range of sectors often fuelled by changes to knowledge acquisition as well as product/service acquisition made possible via the internet by the likes of Amazon, eBay and various comparison websites. This has affected the way consumers view the purchase of products such as; music, films, books, etc and services such as; insurance, recruitment and even training.
In recent months we have worked with various sales organisations who actually describe themselves as ‘commodity’ sellers and they are asking the same questions; ‘How do we steal a march on our competitors when we are all selling the same commodities, other than on price?’ in other words ‘How do we/can we add value in selling commodities?’
If what you are selling is already perceived by you and your customers to be a ‘commodity’ then where is the value that you as the sales person add to the purchaser? You might just as well focus on stripping out costs and undercutting your competition to win the sale.
The Value Adding Salesperson demonstrates what we call Contextual Literacy. They have a comprehensive understanding of their customers’ buying context; their market change drivers, their economic and financial constraints, their values and priorities, their issues and frustrations, their challenges and opportunities. They can combine their extensive contextual knowledge with their business and professional networks (it’s what you know combined with who you know) to provide them with unique insights into the purchaser’s world so that they can add genuine value that actually contributes to the buyer’s operational and strategic aims.
If the sales person doesn’t proactively contribute to the buyer’s success then they are not adding value – full stop.