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The Linguistics of Value: Mastering the Language through Value Enablement

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In the same way that becoming fluent in a new language goes beyond memorizing vocabulary and grammar rules, mastering the art of value selling isn’t just about learning techniques and processes. It’s about fluency in a new way of thinking and communicating — the “Language of Value,” which is the principal method of business communication. It is characterized by employing “Value Words” in a structured and conventional manner through a range of engagements including Value Conversations, Value Proposals, and Value Practices.

Defining the Language of Value

Language is the principal method of human communication, comprised of words used in a structured and conventional way, and conveyed by speech, writing, or gesture. The “Language of Value” adheres to similar principles, transforming business communication through structured and conventional use of Value Words, applied in Value Engagements, and conveyed through various mediums such as speech, writing, and gesture.

Delving Deeper into its Components

Let’s take a deeper look at the critical components that form the “Language of Value”:

1. Value Words: Just like learning the key terminologies in a new language, understanding specific terms such as “Discounted Cash Flow,” “ROI,” “NPV,” “IRR,” “Payback Period,” “investment,” “risk,” “cost of ‘do nothing’,” “TCO,” “Financial Justification,” “Business Case,” “Realized value,” and “PIVOT storytelling” are paramount in mastering the language of value.

2. Value Engagement: This refers to the structured and conventional ways to apply value words in business communications, which can be categorized into:

   – Speech: Encompassing Value Conversations, including discovery techniques like Socratic questioning and mirroring.

   – Writing: Crafting Value Proposals or presentations that resonate well with the clients.

   – Gesture: Implementing Value Practices such as training, support, governance, and life cycle strategies to ensure sustainable value delivery.

Why Learning a Language is a Multi-layered Process

When you undertake a language course, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not just about vocabulary and sentence structure. You must learn the idiomatic phrases, the tone, cultural nuances, and even learning to pivot when conversations don’t follow the script. Similarly, the Language of Value is about much more than just learning terminology; it’s about understanding and effectively using Value Engagement to convey the maximum potential value.

The Language of Value: A Complex Framework

Sales teams frequently underestimate the nuances of value-based selling. It transcends merely discovering a customer’s needs or quantifying your solution’s value. A deep understanding of a client’s distinctive challenges and expectations is pivotal. The ability to articulate why your product or service is not only a solution, but the best solution for that specific company and that specific persona is crucial for differentiation.

The Essentials of Value Enablement

A robust Value Enablement program is not just desirable, but essential. It serves as a comprehensive guide to becoming fluent in the Language of Value, featuring:

1. Fundamental Value Skills: From discovery to closing, sales teams need to be skilled at digging deep into customer needs and aligning your solutions accordingly. The skills are akin to learning how to conjugate a verb. It is critical to success but does not make for a fluent conversation..

2. Differentiating Value Content: Developing a central library of differentiating content enables account teams to maintain a deep understanding of value expertise while adjusting their style to individual client needs.

3. Trust-Building Language: Beyond presenting numbers, it’s about articulating a deep understanding of the customer’s specific challenges, building consensus on the path forward, and offering a tailored solution. This trust facilitates an open dialogue and partnership when developing out the business case.

4. Just-In-Time Support: Like having a tutor for real-time assistance, a go-to expert or mentor can be indispensable in navigating complex deals and unique customer challenges. 

5. Continuous Learning: Much like language mastery, Value Enablement is an ongoing educational journey involving upskilling, role-playing, real-world application, and the flexibility to adapt and improve continuously. The key is to develop a rich curriculum to support this learning journey.

The Bottom Line

For sales enablement leaders aiming to make a meaningful impact, a Value Enablement program is your Rosetta Stone for teaching the Language of Value. It provides a comprehensive, ongoing training program that equips your sales force to speak fluently and convincingly in the nuanced language of value. It’s time to equip your teams with this transformative business communication tool and witness a paradigm shift in value-based selling.

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