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Agrimarketing : September 2012
64 Agri Marketing September 2012 Editor's Note: This is the ninth of several installments from the new book "ProSelling: A Professional Approach to Selling in Agriculture and Other Industries." Asalesperson does more than just sell products, the salesperson is responsible for communicating, and often held responsible for delivering, a "Total Value Proposition." A "Total Value Proposition" is usually made up of some combination of four different attributes of what the salesperson is selling. The most obvious attribute is the physical product itself. The product component of the "Total Value Proposition" is actually the easiest component to communicate and occupies a large portion of any sales discussion. Although the terminology here is "Product," this component is a bundle of products, services, and information that are offered at a given price. CO-CREATED VALUE This total perspective of value is in line with the concept of co-created value. The basic premise of co-created value is that value can only be realized by a customer once it is implemented in their organization. Therefore both a buyer and seller are involved in the creation of value --- co-created value. Some researchers take this a step further by recognizing that if value is created in partnership, then all value is actually service. Companies who buy tangible products, are really buying the manufacturing services of the supplier. When the customer is involved in the creation of the value, the experience of how they buy becomes even more important. Customer experiences are created through understanding the context the customer is buying in and what experiences they would value in that circumstance. The "Total Value Proposition" concept not only recognizes the value of the products, but other factors as well. BRAND Value also is created by the brand or reputation of the company, and how the company stands behind their products and services. Brand is the reputation of the company or dealership and what it stands for in the marketplace. The brand name can add dramatically to the perceived value for the customer. The brand suggests quality of product and service and assures the customer the product is worthy of its price. While the actual dollar value of a brand is hard to quantify, there is no doubt that a highly respected brand adds value for many customers. SUPPORT PROGRAMS A third part of the "Total Value Proposition" is the supporting programs that may have been created to encourage sales. Such things as special training programs on how to use the product more effectively, cooperative advertising to assist a store in promoting a product, or rebate plans that reward the customer for loyalty are all examples of this. These programs can be rather complex and are designed to entice customers to make repeated purchases by rewarding and supporting them. A good sales professional usually finds these programs are great tools in helping them enhance their offer and create a differential advantage over competition. PERSONALIZED SERVICE Finally, an extremely important part of the "Total Value Proposition" comes from the unique personalized service that comes from the salesperson themselves. The personalized service the sales professional provides and relationships that develop can create huge value in the mind of the customer as they work together to solve problems that help the customer and their business. The relationship may develop slowly but last for years. Developing and maintaining that sort of relationship is one of the most powerful tools the sales professional can have. These four levels of product can be illustrated as ever-expanding circles --- like ripples in a pond. The more that can be delivered for a price, the better the perceived value as long as the customer fully understands and appreciates what each of these elements mean to them: THE TOTAL VALUE PROPOSITION When these elements of the T otal Value Proposition" are well developed and communicated to the customer, adapted and modified to the specific beliefs, goals, and needs of the account, they can create real value for the customer and demonstrate a powerful differential advantage over competitive offers the customer might consider. AM ProSelling --- 9TH IN A SERIES COMMUNICATING VALUE TO CUSTOMERS "ProSelling: A Professional Approach to Selling in Agriculture and Other Industries" is authored by Scott Downey, David Downey, Mike Jackson, and Laura Downey and published by Agri Marketing magazine. It is available at www.AgriMarketing.com in the Bookstore and is being used by many universities and agribusinesses. AM
AgCareers USA 2012