Value-added selling has become one of the most popular sales approaches these days, as a sort of inevitable evolution of consultative selling. In value-added selling, the salesperson offers the product or service but then also throws in something unique to make that product more valuable to prospects. Value-added selling not only helps you to differentiate your product from the competition, it also motivates buyers to come to you instead of doing their buying over the Internet.
The type of value you add to your sales pitch can and will vary depending on the type of product you sell. A value item must be unique (or at least unusual) and have high relative worth to the customer in order to motivate them to buy. Some value items will be seen as highly useful to buyers in one marketplace, but will seem worthless to buyers in another, so knowing your prospects and their preferences is a key part of value-added selling.
Arguably, the most difficult type of product to sell is a commodity. Commodities are products or services that the buyer believes are exactly the same, regardless of who's selling it. These are usually inexpensive products that have been on the market for a very long time. For example, gasoline is a commodity, so someone looking to fill up his car's tank will normally go to the gas station with the lowest price.
If you're selling a commodity, your best bet is to offer value items that relate to lower costs and/or saving time. Some of these value items would include fast delivery, quick and easy replaceability, reduced fees, and so on. You could also try grouping commodity products to make a customized package that will exactly fit your prospect's needs. Of course, if you can come up with a way to differentiate your product, that's the best approach of all.
Inexpensive products that are new to the marketplace usually are easier to sell because they haven't reached the status of a commodity yet. Because the product is fairly cheap, prospects won't feel it's a huge risk to purchase these products. Value add-ons for new, inexpensive products often center on the concept of being trendy and an early adopter. You can also offer value items related to easy setup and installation – for example, a professional installation and six months of tech support at no additional cost.
Expensive, established products generally don't become commodities because they are such a big investment that the companies that sell them make a special effort to differentiate these products. However, because they are quite expensive, you can count on high competitive pressure and a long sales cycle as buyers seek out the best deal.
Cars are a good example of this kind of product. Value items are extremely important for such products and will often revolve around customizing the product and/or lowering costs. For example, you might offer dozens of options so that buyers can get exactly the features they want. Other value items might include custom-designing a product to meet the buyer's specifications, offering free services like maintenance and replacement parts, and fast, convenient delivery.
Products that are both new and expensive are the riskiest of all from the buyer's point of view. But they also offer customers the greatest opportunity, so if you can overcome the prospect's natural and inevitable fear of change, you can have great success with such products. Value add-ons for these kinds of products stress the cutting-edge technology, prestige of owning such products, or (best of all) help to reduce the risk of buying for the prospect.
Examples might include guarantees of a certain level of improvement to existing systems (e.g. “This new class of widget will increase your production by a minimum of 30 percent”), free training on product use, modular systems that can be expanded or reduced as the customer needs, and so on.