Salespeople are constantly told to build more value in order to differentiate their products and services from competitors. A swing and a miss happens here when sellers jump in and rattle off features and benefits, even good ones. What is missing is establishing what the buyer values, so the salesperson then can focus on relevant features and benefits. To explain my point, read this personal story of mine that describes that value is a moving target and means different things to different people.

The house my wife and I had built five years ago was designed with an attached 12’ x 12’ screened porch at the rear facing the woods (photos above). It was very nice, however our weather in South Georgia is such we can only enjoy it on ‘goldilocks’ days. That’s a problem because there are only a handful of ‘not too hot (& humid) and not too cold’ days each year where I live.

I suggested to the wife that we enclose this porch and make it a year-round room so it would be more useable. Because we had such as nice view of the woods behind us my wife balked at closing it in. The best I could do was to get her to agree to at least listen to a remodeler share some ideas with us.

We got a good recommendation on a guy named Kenny and invited him to take a look. From the beginning I liked Kenny because he didn’t just run his mouth and tell us what we should do. He was conversational and consultative, and reminded me of how I suggest that salespeople should act with their prospects. He asked several general questions and quickly determined we weren’t sure what we wanted.

That’s when Kenny changed gears and asked questions that would tell him what we valued.

Q- Would we be interested in having our cake and eating it too?

A- We responded with, “Who isn’t?” He asked if we would consider replacing screen with glass.

Q- How important would it be to have a unique looking house?

  • This solution would provide us with the only glassed-in porch in the development.

Q- Do we value making smart financial investments?

  • Enclosing the porch this way would appraise the enclosure by twice the construction cost.

Q- We asked what this enclosure would cost.

  • Kenny’s answer was, “Less than you think but more than you wish.”

Q- Would you like some ideas to offset the added cost of glassing vs. regular walls?

  • Kenny suggested installing double pane “Low E” glass that reduces energy consumption.

He also mentioned just staining and sealing the concrete floor, giving it a rustic look, and laying a large area rug. That would save money that would have gone toward wood or tile flooring.

He also proposed moving the existing French doors opening to the porch, and using them as exterior doors for the new room. This would save a bucketful of money on buying new doors.

He concluded by hinting that we could frame that double doorway, leaving it open, which would achieve better air circulation and allow much more light into the home.

Because Kenny determined what we valued he knew what would be relevant to us. He didn’t just yammer about features and benefits. Therefore, rather than seeking additional estimates, we simply asked Kenny when he could get started. Two weeks later I snapped the ‘after’ photos above.

Your takeaway from this story should be to first determine, through questioning, what people value; and then begin to discuss only the relevant features and benefits that will get them what they desire.

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