Sales teams face a constant challenge when it comes to selling on value or selling on price. While both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, selling on value often proves to be a more profitable and sustainable strategy. However, this approach requires a careful balance between delivering value to customers and achieving profitability for the business.

Selling on value involves emphasizing the benefits and advantages of a product or service to customers. This approach is based on the premise that customers are willing to pay a premium price for products and services that deliver value. By highlighting the value proposition of the product or service, sales teams can differentiate themselves from competitors and build customer loyalty.

On the other hand, selling on price is a strategy that focuses on offering the lowest possible price to customers. This approach may attract price-sensitive customers, but it can be harmful to profitability in the long run. Competing solely on price can also attract competitors who can offer similar products at even lower prices, resulting in a race to the bottom.

During my  15 years of sales experience, mainly in the ICMT sector, I have trained several hundred salespeople. The distortion I saw happening most often was inconsistent price positioning with respect to the value proposition and differentiating factors.

Let's try to clarify these two elements, which you can see in the graph below. Differentiating factors are objective, quantifiable with a figure, a number or even with specific tangible characteristics that competitors' products/services do not possess. The value proposition, on the other hand, consists of factors that are not tangible, at least not immediately, the brand, the market positioning, the user experience. If we are in a condition where both these factors are low, we are selling a commodity, the sale will be driven by price. But if the differentiation and value proposition are high, it will be these factors that will drive the purchase decision process and consequently price will not be the key factor.

The distortion occurs when you see sellers position their product at the highest level of differentiation and value proposition, but then sell at prices close to competitors who are not able to offer the same level of these elements.

As I have often said, "to sell a Rolex for the price of a Swatch you don't need an expert salesman, you just take the first kid on the street". A provocative phrase, but one that implies an important concept, namely that one's sales force, even if capable of increasing, year after year, the volume of sales, does not take care to produce adequate profitability from its work

Sales Value vs Price

So, how can sales teams win against competitors who are not leveraging price? Here are some strategies:

1. Differentiate on value proposition

To win against competitors not leveraging price, sales teams must differentiate themselves by emphasizing the unique value proposition of their product or service. This means highlighting the benefits and advantages of the product or service that are not available elsewhere in the market.

2. Focus on customer experience

Sales teams can win against competitors by focusing on providing an exceptional customer experience. This means going beyond the sale to ensure that the customer is satisfied with their purchase and that their needs are met. By creating a positive customer experience, sales teams can build customer loyalty and increase the likelihood of repeat business.

3. Build relationships

Building relationships with customers is crucial to winning against competitors who are not leveraging price. Sales teams should focus on understanding the customer's needs and priorities, and developing a relationship based on trust and mutual understanding. By building relationships, sales teams can create long-term customers who are willing to pay a premium for the value that the product or service provides.

4. Offer additional services

Sales teams can also win against competitors by offering additional services that enhance the value proposition of the product or service. For example, providing after-sales support, training, or customization services can differentiate the product or service and create a competitive advantage.

5. Optimize pricing strategy

Finally, sales teams can optimize their pricing strategy to compete effectively against competitors not leveraging price. This means setting a price that is competitive while still delivering value to the customer and achieving profitability for the business. Sales teams should also be flexible and willing to adjust prices based on market conditions and customer feedback.

In conclusion, winning against competitors who are not leveraging price requires a strategic approach that focuses on delivering value to customers and building customer loyalty. By differentiating on value proposition, focusing on customer experience, building relationships, offering additional services, and optimizing pricing strategy, sales teams can compete effectively and achieve profitability in the long run.

Often in the sales enablement courses I gave, the most recurring question was: "What is the best sales book you could recommend?"

My recommendation, pardon the paradox, has always been a training book for purchasing professionals, because the first rule of a good salesman is to know your interlocutor, his decision keys, his purchasing process, when you understand this, you already have half of the result you want to achieve in your pocket, and in this case my recommendation, today, would go to the text written by Hubert Lachance, which is entitled: "Confessions of a professional buyer: The secrets about selling and purchasing services". A first step to understanding and winning in the sales competition.