Key Principles of Value-Based Selling

value-based selling

As a business owner, you approach every step of the process with purpose. You have carefully cultivated or created the products or services you intend to sell, in the hopes that others will appreciate your efforts as a potential solution to their problems.

But when it comes to selling, you need to convince your targeted audience that these products or services really are important. You want them to see their value.

What is Value?

Value is a tough thing to define in the world of sales. What one person views as a time-saving or even life-saving addition to their life can have absolutely no meaning to another person. The concept of what’s valuable and what’s not is deeply personal.

what is value

As a result, value-based selling can get some tremendous results. If you are able to demonstrate to your audience that your products or services can provide great value to them, they are far more likely to feel comfortable with the investment required to take advantage of your product. 

But what does it take to tap into the success and psyche of what your customers value? Here are some of the key principles of value-based selling that you can incorporate into any sales-oriented discussion.

What Is Value-Based Selling?

The basic concept behind value-based selling is quite simple: Customers are far more willing to make purchases when they see the inherent value behind doing so.

Taking a quick glance at the sales funnel, you’ll remember that at the top level, you have customers who have identified a need, and are exploring options that can help them meet that need. 

There are five basic categories of value, or reasons why people feel they need to make a purchase:

  1. To make more money
  2. To save money 
  3. To elevate the quality of their own product or service
  4. To reduce risk
  5. To meet a personal need 

Some of these categories will fit your product or service more than others.

For example, let’s say your product is yoga pants with pockets, for women. On the surface, this feels like a pretty personal purchase. Someone who enjoys working out and needs pockets will obviously find your product valuable.

But value-based selling goes beyond the obvious, and taps further into the psyche of the buyer.

What about busy fitness instructors who travel from gym to gym? They might actually find yoga pants with pockets useful to get from one location to another faster: they don’t have to bring their wallets as they could just bring enough money to get in and out of the bus, or just for paying themselves a coffee during the break time.

This small advantage can be useless for many, but not for those instructors: a tiny pocket could elevate their service and increase productivity, as well as comfort.

Everyone has a slightly different way of perceiving and appreciating the value of any product or service.

Read also: Customer Lifetime Value. What is CLV, and how to measure it

Understanding Your Customers Values

It is incredibly difficult to find success with value-based selling unless you know what your customer’s values truly are. This may seem obvious, but as the example of yoga pants proved, different people value different aspects of a product or service.

Understanding Your Customers Values

Nearly every sale is made due to “knowing what the customer wants,” but in value-based selling, that principle extends a little further. In addition to knowing what the customer wants, you also learn why the customer wants it.

The way you find this information is by truly listening to your customers. That means actively engaging them in conversation, in social media posts, in blog posts, in person, and in the community. Don’t make assumptions about your customers’ motivation in looking at your product: ask! 

This is not just an exercise in obtaining information; in fact, this will help you gain the trust of your target audience, as well. 

You may be thinking, “but my product is what it is… I can’t redesign everything to meet everyone’s needs!” That’s true, but you can explore how your product has the ability to bring value to a variety of different situations.

The trick is to tap into your customers’ sense of value, which you can only do if you listen to what matters most to them.

Read also: Finding your Target Audience

Communicating Value to Customers

Value-based selling isn’t as simple as saying, “Here’s why you should love our product”. 

First of all, no one likes to be told what they like and don’t like, or what they need or don’t need. Customers like to feel empowered to make those decisions themselves.

value-based selling

However, as a business owner, you can encourage them to appreciate all of the facts.

When pursuing value-based selling techniques, it’s important to help guide the customer’s thoughts and feelings not only through listening, but through exploring resistance.


There are two main reasons why people don’t buy the first potential solution they may find:

  1. Because they want to learn more and explore more options
  2. Because they do not trust that this is exactly what they want or need.

Most people experience a little bit of both. Through value-based sales, you are not simply forcing a person to buy your product. You are encouraging them to try your solution to your problem because it will bring the most value to their life. To do this, you need to build trust.

Listening is key, as we mentioned, but so are the words you say.

Many people are frightened of making the wrong decision. If they trust you, the business owner, as an expert who truly understands their challenges and concerns, then they will feel more confident in purchasing your product.

Not only should you ask your audience about their concerns, and listen to their response, but then understand why this is a concern, or what would make them feel more compelled to purchase your product or services as a solution.

This means engaging in conversation, using open-ended questions to help customers and yourself understand why they aren’t quite ready to invest in your product just yet. These reasons will be different for nearly everyone.


Let’s use the example of yoga pants with pockets. Someone new to fitness or yoga may see your product as a great idea, but be unwilling to spend a lot of money on clothing for an activity they aren’t sure they’re going to enjoy. 

Going back to the categories of value, this person is adverse to the risk of losing money.

So what are your opportunities here? You can choose to demonstrate that your pants can be worn in a variety of situations, and not just at the gym.

the yoga pants example for value-based selling

You are broadening the value of your product to a level that this person can appreciate.

They aren’t spending money on pants that can only be worn in one situation; they’re buying pants for their entire life. 

On the other hand, they may explain that they’re embarrassed to be seen in tight pants right now, because they’re just starting to work out. Here, you could take the opportunity to bolster their emotions about their fitness journey, explaining how your product will help them feel more confident, because it looks good and feels great during exercise.

Value-Based Selling: Wrapping Up

Value-based selling is not a “one and done” method of sales. Instead, you’ll want to spend plenty of time identifying what motivates your customers, and continue to follow their train of thought to help them appreciate the full scope of their concerns, as well as the many ways in which your product can help them.

This is how your customers will discover the true value of your business.

This doesn’t mean that you have to sit down and talk to each and every customer for days on end, especially if your product or service is rather simple

Instead, you can use outlets like your blog, website, and social media to demonstrate value. Once you appreciate why your audience values your product, your marketing can then reflect a variety of these reasons. You’ll also be able to target your marketing based on which segments of your audience share which values.

There are plenty of great things that can come from the principles of value-based selling. While the initial conversion is one key benefit, your insight into your customers and their needs will be forever enriched.



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