by Tom Reilly

“It is principles, and everlastingly principles, not data, not facts, not helpful hints, but principles which the rising generation requires if it is to find its way through the mazes of tomorrow.” Robert Hutchins, President of Yale University

Great thinkers have staying power. Their ideas endure. Two great management thinkers from the twentieth-century, W. Edwards Deming and Peter Drucker, worked into their 80’s and 90’s. Their ideas are relevant today. This is the test for ideas. They stick. Deming and Drucker’s ideas persist because they are truths, not merely techniques. Techniques change with technology, but truths remain constant.

Value-Added Selling is built on principles—the kind Hutchins spoke about. Value-Added Selling is rich in techniques. Yet, techniques yield to the underlying truths of Value-Added Selling. Underlying truths become principles. These six principles are foundational to Value-Added Selling.

  • Salespeople must focus on making a difference, not just a deal. It’s not just about making sales. It’s about solving problems and serving people.
  • Buyers, not sellers, define value. For buyers, it’s value-received, not value-added.
  • Customers prefer to buy what they need from salespeople who know what they want. Salespeople must be sensitive to the organizational needs and personal wants.
  • Perceived value raises expectations. Performance value affects satisfaction.
  • There’s no commodity in creativity. There’s no traffic jam on the extra mile.
  • Trust is the currency of great relationships. Buyers want to buy from those whom they trust. If two people like and trust each other, they will work out the details. Price is a detail.

Ask yourself this question. Is your sales approach built on principles or techniques? If it’s built on techniques, you’re limited by the techniques you know. If your sales approach is built on principles, you’re limited only by the edges of your imagination and the extent of your initiative.

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