Five fresh ways to add value for your customers

Friday, December 9, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 50

Any salesperson who’s been in the game for more than a day knows that products and services aren’t sold based on price. Top sales pros first focus on the value of what they’re selling and how it can best meet the customer’s needs.

But today’s consumers are more informed than ever.

A recent Accenture survey showed 88 percent of customers research products online before making a purchase in a store. The numbers only go up for business-to-business sales.

An Acquity Group survey found that 94 percent of B2B buyers do some form of online research before purchasing a product or service.

Sales teams need to offer far more than proof points and compelling consumer-focused language to remain relevant in today’s marketplace. High-performing sales representatives don’t operate in silos. They are aligned with the rest of their organizations as extensions of the customer-service experience.

The most powerful way a sales rep can stand out today is by incorporating value-added prospect follow-up interactions that demonstrate their organization’s customer-service culture. Sales reps that aren’t promoting world-class service are losing out on potential business and leaving money on the table.

Consider implementing prospect-centric value-added communication strategies like the ones below in your sales process.

Share a tool you created. Create a simple spreadsheet or presentation template that would appeal to a broad audience. Brand it with your company’s logo and email it to prospects and clients who might benefit from it.

Share a blog or column. Email a link to a blog or column your prospect might find useful. Prospects are more likely to read customized follow-up emails, so include a personal note stating the reason you thought your prospect would find the information valuable. To stand out even more, you might send a hard copy with a hand-written card.

Create and email a custom video. Taking 30 seconds to record a simple message to your prospects can go miles in long-term relationship building. Record well wishes for a special occasion or a greeting from the team that will be directly involved once the prospect becomes a customer.

Get proactive with references. Reach out to your trusted clients or customers to ask them to send an email recommendation to specific prospects.

Lend your influence. Help your prospects grow their networks by making personal introductions. Connect with your prospects on social media by following and interacting with their business pages.

It takes eight or more contacts with most prospects to convert them to customers, and most business is lost when sales teams fail to execute a thoughtful follow-up strategy. Avoid sounding like a broken record across multiple follow-ups and move the needle in the sales process with meaningful, value-added interactions.

Jenny Jo Smith, manager of training & development at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at