How To Sell More: Value First, Brand Second
By Paul R. DiModica
many marketing people love to talk about brand selling as the key
business driver that induces prospects to take an action step to buy.
But in this business world, to sell more, it should be value first,
brand second. Why?
Because every brand has attached to it both good and bad
perceptions based on the receiver’s understanding at the point in
time it is heard. It doesn’t matter if what you say about your brand
is true – but from the receiver’s point of view – do they
believe - it is true? At any time, the prospect may have read your
brand statement in a trade publication or a national newspaper that
was negative or they may have had a business acquaintance say
something that describes your product or services incorrectly.
is so big that your brand is too generic and it does not exactly
describe how your product or service creates value for the prospect
….so immediately the prospect just dismisses your brand as having no
value for them at all. Today,
the question sales and marketing teams must answer is how do prospects
see us? Do prospects see us as a vendor who is predator or do they see
us as peer who is a provider? It’s
not necessarily you or I that they are judging; it’s all of the
salespeople and brands who preceded us.
Branding just Testosterone Marketing?
Often, brand marketing is some grandiose business exercise to
paint the big picture of what makes your firm different and to explain
why people should buy. The problem with big brand marketing is that if
it’s not focused on value creation for the buyer, it boxes sales
into a restrictive enclosure that at times limits new sales
opportunities. Will Volvo,
branded as safety cars ever sell lots of sport cars?
Will Apple Computers branded as cool artistic PCs ever increase
their business market share to 10%?
brand says, we have great service, or our company is committed to our
customer or my product is the best….prospects don’t believe you.
No one believes you - this is just corporate gobbledygook – because
everybody says the same thing.
talk like your competitors, and sound like your competitors, and act
like your competitors, you now are perceived to be like your
competition and it’s hard for prospects to truly see the value
difference of your brand and how you can help them.
happens all the time. Has this happened to you?
Is your pharmaceutical company’s brand so incorrectly
positioned, that by just saying your corporate name it paints just one
drug in the mind of doctors? Has
your company developed a successful customer relationship management
software application and that’s all prospects think you sell?
Do you sell loose diamonds and your prospects don’t think you
sell completed jewelry? Does
your firm sell a broad range of financial services but your
company’s name has the words “Life Insurance” in it?
In each of
these examples, your firm’s brand gets in the way of you selling
more. Prospects don’t return your calls or ignore you because they
have made “judgment” observations about what they think your brand
is and the value of what you sell.
Kentucky Fried Chicken change their name to KFC? Because their brand
forced buyers to see only “fried” chicken and not the entire food
product line they sell. Why
did AT&T change their name from American Telephone and Telegraph?
Obviously, because they don’t sell telegraphs any more.
Why did National Cash Register change their name to NCR?
Because banks don’t buy cash registers, but they do buy the
ATM machines that NCR sells.
you say and don’t say to prospects paints pictures in the mind of
the buyer called a “Visual Brochure”. Visual brochures are like TV
screens that sometimes are out of focus. When you centralize your
marketing and sales on one corporate brand you limit the TV screen’s
clarity based on the reviewer’s knowledge and lack
of knowledge about what you sell.
brand as a door opener or as a discussion item, you are assuming that
the prospect knows and understands your offering and the offering’s
value to them if they purchase from you. But, this assumption gives
too much weight to the theory that all buyers know how to buy
correctly and that all buyers understand your brand.
your business faster, always communicate Value First and Brand Second.
Business prospects buy based on three reasons and only three reasons.
1. Your product or service increases income for them;
2. Or your product or service decreases expenses for the
3. Or your product or service helps your buyer manage their
potential risks or consequences;
three business drivers are the true value buyer motivators that induce
prospects to buy and companies and salespeople must use them upfront
as tools during their pre-sales cycle to drive prospects to take
action steps to buy. This value forward selling model focuses not on
what “brand message” you want your prospect to assimilate, instead
it focuses on the results your product or service delivers.
being a seen as a “Center Centric” company dedicated to selling
financial services to manufactures, readjust your value position
upfront as a “Manufacturing Financial Management Improvement
sell wholesale inventory to retail chains instead of telling them how
great your customer service, alternatively communicate to them how
your firm is a “Retail Inventory Turn Improvement Specialist” for
businesses like theirs. If
you sell technology outsourcing to healthcare facilities, position
your pre-sales value potentially as “Healthcare Operational Cost
more, stop focusing on your needs of telling prospects how great you
are through the positioning of your business brand, and start
describing the business results your product or services offers the
buyer based on them selecting you.
To sell more - Value First, Brand Second.
Read other articles and learn more
about Paul DiModica.
[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis.
Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and