To Sell on Value, Lead With Need

This week, EDR’s own Don Grauer hosted a webinar to address the top challenge that environmental professionals face today: winning projects in an intensely competitive market environment.

SellingOnValueTo help environmental professionals tackle this challenge head on, Don co-hosted a web event on June 26th with nationally-known sales expert at Zig Ziglar, Bryan Flanagan from their headquarters in in Plano, TX on Tuesday, June 26, 2012.

Bryan’s advice focused on what he called the “lead with need” approach.

Value. Advantages. Benefits.

Condition yourself to use these three words in conversations with prospects, and you will prepare them to be open to hearing a value-based message.

“While price is important, if you learn how to sell your value, you will not have to defend your price….as often,” emphasized Flanagan. “Train yourself and your colleagues to ‘lead with need,’ to talk about your values, advantages and benefits more often. Use these three words to separate your firm. Focus on how you can help prospects move forward while your competitors are out there talking about how cheaply they can deliver a product. Do this well and you will win repeat business.”

The reality is that there will always be clients who are price shoppers. You, as a provider, might not want to play in that game. If not, you need to find out what factors other than price are important influencers to a client in making a decision. Many buy a service at a low price because they are under pressure, or they’re not educated about the available options. Your job is then to educate.

To avoid competing against firms that low ball, Flanagan advises:

  • Don’t even quote your price until you’ve established your value. Fend off those who want to talk price right away by slowing down the process to find out what they want.
  • “For me to give you an accurate quote, I’d like to ask you a few questions….”
  • “In the past, what’s been important to you?”
  • “Other than price, what do you make a consideration?”
  • Don’t go to prospects with a message on the services you offer. If you do, you will force them to make a decision based on the commodity you’re selling.
  • “What have you been using? What would you like in the future? What would be the benefit to you in closing that gap?”
  • Then, talk price but wrapped in a value-advantages-benefits message.
  • “We could give you this at this low price, but you’re missing a lot.”
  • “We have a premium product at a fair price and it puts you in a better position. Here’s why….”

In the end, clients will pay a little more to someone who understands their needs—and helps them meet their business goals.


If you missed this week’s webinar, EDR Insight offers the following:

  • If you are tasked with prospecting and growing your firm’s business, this webinar is worth a listen. As Bryan said during the webinar, whatever you do, “Invest in your learning. You never really graduate.” The replay is posted here.
  • Read EDR Insight’s full Strategic Brief, titled To Sell on Value, Master the P.R.O.C.E.S.S., posted on our Resources page.
  • Interestingly, environmental professional Tina Huff posted a blog on commonground this week, titled How Valuable is Your Phase I ESA? Her blog does what Bryan advised: takes the reader through the process of explaining what the differences may be between a lower-priced Phase I ESA and a higher-priced one.