The way customers determine their return on the investments they make when they buy from you is to divide their profits by the amount of the investment. This tells them whether they are going to come out with a net gain by doing business with you and, if they are, how much it is likely to be. It is up to you to tell them how you will make money for them. Will you help them increase their volume or their margins? Or will you help them reduce their operating costs? Or will you do both? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you may be able to sell to them on the basis of your return instead of your cost.
Once you free yourself from being positioned as an added cost, customers will be able to regard you as an adder of value—an asset whose investment pays back a profit. The price that you ask them to pay to invest in the assets you want to sell to them can now be freed from being attached to the asset itself and can become related to the customers' return. By relating your price to your value as a profit contributor instead of to the performance features of your asset or to the prices of your competitors' assets, your price will be seen as an investment in a profit-making asset.
The V word—value—is the key word in Consultative Selling. Consultative sellers know their value, sell their value, position their value as their product, and price its value. They take pride in their value and are sure about their ability to deliver it to their customers. Their value is not in providing a service. Instead, their service is providing their value.
Consultative Selling makes "getting to close" predictable at a hit rate that is virtually one to one. There are two reasons why this is so: It compels buy-in on first proposal from customer managers who want to realize the full net present value (NPV) of a supplier's technology without incurring the opportunity cost of delay; and, just as it wins faster, it enables suppliers to lose faster and cut their losses as soon as they perceive, during preliminary proposal, insufficient partnerability on the part of a customer. This saves them the ongoing costs of making one cut after another, only to end up with discounted margins that can make a sale profitless, assuming it eventually takes place.
In these respects, not only is Consultative Selling the master quantifier of added values, but it is also the unfailing qualifier of opportune and inopportune selling situations.