In sales, one of the leading causes of lost deals is a failure to align the seller’s value proposition with the buyer’s purchasing criteria. Can you believe that recent research by Gartner reveals that nearly two-thirds of all sales interactions fail to align to the seller’s capabilities with the buyer’s needs?
Furthermore, according to a study by CSO insights, aligning sales and marketing teams with customer needs or preferences is the number one challenge for organizations. It has also been found that salespeople who build rapport and show empathy with their customers are more likely to build trust and close deals, even in cases of value clashes.
Sales professionals who can overcome objections are more likely to close more deals. Recent statistics also demonstrate that they are more capable of providing better solutions to customers with more benefits. From this, we understand the importance of understanding the customer’s perspective in sales.
Only with these skillsets can we embark on client success with solutions that align with mutual values. No matter how prepared you are for the meeting, you still need to think on your toes to overcome value clashes and close deals.
Affordability vs Quality Clashes
Alex is a certified sales professional who has been in the sales industry for many years and had a wealth of experience in dealing with customers. However, despite his best efforts, he found himself struggling with a particular customer.
This customer, named Susan, had a very different set of values than Alex. Susan was extremely price-sensitive and always looking for the cheapest option, while Alex believed in the value of high-quality products and services.
At first, Alex tried to sell Susan the value of his products and services, but she was not interested. She only wanted to know the price and would not even consider any of Alex’s offers. Feeling frustrated, Alex decided to take a different approach. Instead of pushing his values on Susan, he tried to understand her perspective.
He asked her questions about her business and what was important to her. He learned that Susan was running a small business on a tight budget and that saving money was a priority for her. With this new understanding, Alex was able to come up with a solution that met Susan’s needs while still aligning with his values.
He found a way to offer Susan high-quality products and services at a more affordable price point. She was delighted and became one of Alex’s most loyal customers. When dealing with value clashes, it is important to not only listen to the customer, but also try to understand their perspective. This way, you can offer them solutions that meet their needs while still being true to your values.
6 ways we can resolve value clashes with a customer
With all being said, here are six ways you can handle value clashes with your customers and keep a cool head during the deal.
- Listen and understand the customer’s perspective.
When dealing with a value clash, it is important to understand the customer’s point of view. Ask questions and actively listen to their needs and concerns. This goes a long way as you can build trust with the client and show them that you care. It will set you apart from the rest of the crowd as you wish to create a genuine bond with the client.
- Be empathetic.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and try to understand where they are coming from during a clash. Show them that you understand and care about their needs beyond scoring client success. Maybe you are dealing with a customer who is requesting a refund for a product they are not satisfied with. The salesperson, while standing by their company’s no-refund policy, could approach the situation by actively listening to the customer’s concerns. They can show empathy towards their situation to understand the customer’s perspective and address their concerns more effectively.
Moreover, the salesperson can take an initiative to offer an alternative solution to meet customer’s needs like: “I’m sorry that the product did not meet your expectations, I can offer you a 20% discount on your next purchase or can offer a free consultation with our experts to ensure that you get the most out of the product.”
- Be flexible.
Be willing to consider alternatives and be open to changing your approach if it means finding a solution that works for both parties. The above example could work for this scenario as well. By showing empathy and being flexible, you are trying to find a solution that works for the customer’s specific needs.
This way, the salesperson can build trust and maintain a positive relationship with the customer, even if they are not able to provide a refund. You might not win the sales negotiations, but you will earn the client’s trust for a lifetime!
- Find a common ground.
Look for areas of agreement and build on them. Finding common ground can help to break down barriers and find solutions that align with both sets of values. Suppose a customer is looking for an environmentally friendly product, but your company only sells products that are not eco-friendly.
In this scenario, the salesperson might begin by highlighting areas of agreement with the customer, such as both of them wanting to make a positive impact on the environment. They could say, “I understand your desire to make a positive impact on the environment. At our company, we also believe in being environmentally responsible and have implemented many sustainable practices in our manufacturing and logistics operations.”
By highlighting this common ground, the salesperson can create a more positive and constructive conversation with the customer. The salesperson can also offer the customer some options that align with both their values such as finding recycled or eco-friendly packaging for the product or even offering information about how to recycle or dispose of the product in an eco-friendly way.
- Communicate openly and honestly.
Be transparent about your values and the reasons behind them. Explain how your values align with the customer’s needs and how you can offer solutions that meet both of your needs. If the clash continues without a solution for the sales negotiations, be honest and willing to step away from the deal.
If you are unable to find a solution that fully aligns with both sets of values, try to find a compromise that is acceptable to both parties. Be willing to make concessions to reach a solution that works for everyone.
- Seek compromise.
What would you do if the customer wants a discount on a product, but your company has a strict no-discount policy? You might begin by explaining the company’s policy and the reasons behind it, such as wanting to maintain fair pricing for all customers. At the same time, you could show a willingness to find a compromise.
Perhaps you can offer to bundle the product with an additional service or item to make the purchase more valuable to the customer or offer an extended warranty or free delivery as a part of the purchase. Are there any alternative products that meet the customer’s needs at a similar or lower price point? Or could you keep in touch and inform them if there are any promotional offers?
By being willing to compromise and find creative solutions, you can maintain a positive relationship with the customer and address their needs, even if you are not able to offer a direct discount. It’s important to remember that dealing with value clashes can be challenging, but with good communication and an open-minded approach, it is possible to find solutions that meet the needs of both parties.
Dealing with value clashes with customers can be challenging, but with the right approach, it is possible to find solutions that meet the needs of both parties. As a certified sales professional, you must remember that in some cases, a customer may not be the right fit for your product or service.
And in those situations, it’s important to be honest, and explain that you may not be able to meet their needs but suggest alternatives. The key to effectively dealing with value clashes is to approach the situation with an open mind, actively listen to the customer, understand their perspectives, and work towards finding a solution that meets the needs of both parties.