Seller learning buyer's value language through impact questions

What Value Language Does Your Buyer Speak?

Doug Wyatt

Doug Wyatt 
Director Product Management, SPARXiQ 

Effective value messaging needs to be as unique as each buyer who hears it. While there may be a dozen or more benefits of your product that are relevant to a particular buyer, that buyer is likely focused on the few that solve their specific problem and deliver a desired outcome. Knowing the right value messaging that will resonate with the buyer and connect the dots to those desired outcomes doesn’t have to be a guessing game. It just requires speaking the buyer’s value language. 

Seller learning buyer's value language through impact questions

I recently wrote about the four types of value that matter to different buyers. While effectively messaging each type of value to the right buyers is a skill on its own, initially identifying the buyer’s relevant value drivers is equally as important. 

How can you know which value language your buyer speaks so that you can communicate it to them in ways they fully understand? It’s all about uncovering the impacts. Once you know the problem the buyer hopes to solve, simply ask the right impact questions and you’ll find out exactly how to message your solution’s value.  

Impacts of the Buyer’s Current State

The first set of impacts you need to understand are those related to what’s going on now. The buyer has a challenge in front of them or an untapped opportunity that could benefit from your solution’s help. Right now, in the absence of your solution, what are the impacts of that challenge or opportunity on the buyer’s business? 

Let’s consider a scenario. An IT administrator could be experiencing network outages resulting in downtime on several occasions. When asked about the impacts of the downtime, here are two potential responses the buyer might have:

1

"This issue is costing us considerably. We did the math and figured out that every minute of downtime costs us about $4,800."

2

"This issue has been extremely frustrating. I've had some of my team working overtime hours trying to resolve it and we're fielding a lot of angry client complaints."

In this example, the same problem manifests in two very different ways for a potential buyer. In example 1, the buyer sees the problem through the lens of its Business impacts, in dollars and cents. In example 2, Experiential impacts are voiced through the frustration and negative experience that the company, its employees and customers are dealing with. 

Do you think you’d be able to make the sale to the buyer in example 1 if you messaged heavily about your solution’s ability to relieve frustration and reduce overtime hours? Probably not. 

Field Guide: Effectively Communicate Four Types of Value to Your Buyers

Discover the four types of value a buyer may see in your solution along with guidance for uncovering them and messaging each effectively.

Impacts of Solving the Buyer’s Problem

Similar to uncovering the impacts of the current state, when you ask the right questions about the impacts of solving the problem, you can gain insight into the buyer’s value language. How will things improve if and when the buyer is able to solve the problem? 

Continuing the example from above, the buyer could be expressing the impact of solving the problem in terms of production efficiency (example 1), or in terms of reduced frustration (example 2). When asked about the impacts of solving the problem, the buyer might explain it one of two ways. Check out the following examples. 

1

“If we could get the downtime reduced or eliminated, we’d maintain our customer’s expected level of service and even be able to bring in more customers. In either case, it’d enable us to grow our revenue and improve customer retention by 5-10%.”

2

“Getting this resolved would reduce a lot of headaches for our technical team. The unexpected emergency overtime hours have been a real drain on morale and productivity.” 

As was the case in the section above, example 1 reflects a buyer who is interested in the business impacts of solving the problem. Example 2 demonstrates a buyer who is looking for the experiential benefits. Aligning your value messaging accordingly can make all the difference. 

When asking the right questions, you’ll generally find that buyers express the pain of the current state in the same language as they express the potential of the desired future state when the problem is solved. 

Ask the Right Impact Questions

Having seen examples of buyer language informing value messaging language, it’s important to take a step back and answer the question “how do we get there?” These distinctions are undoubtedly powerful when presenting any solution, but what questions can we ask to reveal these types of impact statements? The right impact questions aren’t complicated, and you may already be asking some of them in discovery. 

The questions below that can reveal what’s valuable to your buyer. Certainly, they should be used when appropriate in the context of a conversation and not come out-of-the-blue. 

Ask About the Impacts of the Current State: 

  •  “How serious is this issue?” 
  • “Where do you see this problem showing up in your business?”
  • “What happens if you don’t address this problem?” 

Ask About the Impacts of Solving the Problem:

  • “What would it mean if you could solve this?” 
  • “Why is looking into a solution like this a priority for you?” 

When you read these questions, you can quickly see how the answers that the buyer provides can give you a strong indication of the type of value they can derive from your solution. 

Speak the Buyer’s Value Language

When it comes time to communicate the value of your solution, are you going to follow the same features-and-benefits script, or are you going to lean in and message the specific value drivers that matter to the buyer? Fortunately, learning the value language of your buyer is much easier and quicker than any language we learned in school. Know the Four Types of Value and ask the right impact questions to find out what matters most to each of your buyers. 

For a deeper dive into uncovering value drivers, conducting discovery and effectively communicating value to each unique buyer, check out our Modern Sales Foundations training program. 

Modern Sales Foundations™

Use a buyer-centric approach to improve sales results

Modern Sales Foundations™ (MSF) is an end-to-end virtual sales training program that teaches sellers the buyer-centric strategies and approaches needed to excel in today’s marketplace.

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