Stop Overpromising & Start Adding Value Upfront

Learn how to move away from competing on guarantees and promises by developing relationships with prospects and adding value via social selling.

December 12, 2016

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For as long as there have been salespeople, they’ve been one-upping each other on sky-high promises made to the customer. Many reps feel compelled to offer guarantees simply because everyone else is doing it or it’s the way the industry has always operated.

But it’s important to remember that different sales approaches have conflicting views on the value and prudence of promise-making; some guarantees might get you into trouble down the road. By focusing instead on adding value, you can learn to win deals without having to match your competitors’ (often unrealistic) commitments.

To Promise or Not to Promise?

Of course, there are clear advantages to offering a compelling guarantee. You should always seek ways to eliminate any doubts the prospect might have. Decision makers are naturally risk-averse, and any kind of commitment or warranty can help allay their concerns.

“With a guarantee, [buyers] feel confident that they won’t be stuck with their purchase,” writes Dean Rieck. “And the very act of offering a strong guarantee lets buyers know you really believe the product is worth its asking price.”

Yet guarantees are not without their downsides. When you make too many promises to a prospect, you may end up either disappointing them or bending over backwards to meet an expectation you shouldn’t have set in the first place. A great product, paired with right pitch, should erase the prospect’s doubts on its own.

“You should never begin a relationship with a buying organization by appealing to a guarantee,” says Tony Parinello of Selling Across America. “Appealing to a guarantee at this phase of the relationship is a sign of weakness, not a sign of strength.”

In other words, if you get the other details right, the guarantee becomes unnecessary.

Adding Value in Other Ways

Even a flawless product and a superior sales pitch won’t always be enough to win you the deal in the world of modern sales. As online research becomes increasingly important to decision makers, sales reps risk losing out to competitors if they can’t match their prices or promises.

Still, salespeople shouldn’t assume that they must offer a similar commitment in order to remain competitive. In fact, there are several other ways for reps to add value. 

One of the best ways to stay competitive in today’s sales climate is to develop meaningful relationships with your prospects. If you can gain their trust and cultivate familiarity, you’ll immediately have a leg up. You can achieve this in part by embracing social selling, the practice of engaging prospects via social media throughout the sales cycle.

For example, by reaching decision makers through mutual connections on platforms like LinkedIn, you can develop warmer relationships that make prospects feel more comfortable. You can also share relevant industry articles, or comment on your prospects’ posts to reinforce your value and expertise. When it comes time to buy, this will matter much more to prospects than a competitor’s flashy prices or promises.

Guarantees have their place, but you shouldn’t have to offer them just to keep up with the competition. For a more meaningful advantage, get to know your prospects as people and show them how your expertise can make a measurable difference in their lives.

To learn more about the advantages of social selling, download our Sales Manager’s Guide eBook today.

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