Below is an excerpt from the book: Sales Tales: The Hustle, Humor, and Lessons Learned From a Life in Sales from the chapter titled "The Value of Value"
The best way to understand your buyer’s “value” is to understand their needs and what makes them tick. Value can be learned at any age. I volunteer to teach entrepreneurship, finance, sales, business and pricing to kids ages eight to eighteen in various schools in San Diego. One day, in a classroom of third graders, we were discussing pricing and value. I asked the kids to take something from their backpack, put it on their desks. I asked them to determine a price for that item and put a sticky note with the price on that item. Then, I asked them to walk around the classroom and look at all the items and think about what they would buy and why? After the eight-year-olds paraded around the room, we discussed. I called on one boy who really wanted to tell me why he thought this one girl’s pink shoes were worth his allowance. It was interesting because the other kids were giggling at him. “Why would he want these shoes?” I must admit, the shoes were pretty rad. They were Chuck Taylor-esque, pink, with glitter-like shoelaces, and they lit up when you walked.
He said, “She priced them at $1 but I would pay $20 for them because they light up.” When I asked, “What about the shoes lighting up do you like?”
He said, “Because my mom and dad won’t let me have light up shoes.”
To this 8-year-old, it wasn’t about the color or the glitter or even the style—it could have been any color or style. For him, he saw the value in them lighting up—because he wasn’t allowed to have them. It was a forbidden fruit, a novelty to which he had minimal permitted exposure. The exclusivity of the shoes and the rarity was why he would pay $20 for the $1 priced hand me down lady shoes. This launched an awesome conversation with the kids about value and perceived value. It then transitioned into an unexpected and delightful conversation about pricing, value and the marketplace.
I always learn something when I volunteer in these classrooms but that day was extra special to me. Those kids taught me a lot about value that day. I still think about this value lesson when I am trying to establish value with my customers. It also was a great reminder for me to pay attention to salespeople when they are giving me extra value. Value does come in all shapes and sizes. We cannot assume that when we’re selling something to someone, that it’s all about price. There are so many intangible considerations and motivations to buy a product or a service. Value and Perceived Value must continue to be important factors in the sales cycle.
Mandi Graziano is the author of the new book: Sales Tales: The Hustle, Humor, and Lessons Learned From a Life in Sales. The book will be launched this October. To sign up for future chapter releases and book updates, click here. To hire Mandi to speak to your group or have a "Conversation With Mandi" with your group, click here.
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