Hot Takes

Winning With Value-Based Sales with Jimmy Ku


The ABCs of selling no longer work and might push customers away. But humans are always tuned into WIIFM. So, if you can show the value of what you are providing, you will win their trust and the sale.

In this session, Jimmy Ku, Head of Growth for Developed Markets at Flutterwave reveals how to win with value-based sales.

You’ll learn the keys to unlock more deals, how to use trust as a key metric in sales, and how to make sure that each of your customers feels valued.

[Transcript] Winning With Value-Based Sales

Although transcriptions are generally very accurate, just a friendly reminder that they could sometimes be incomplete or contain errors due to unclear audio or transcription inaccuracies.

Joe Aicher

Looking forward to our next presentation. Uh, let me bring Jimmy Ku on. Jimmy, how are you doing? 

Jimmy Ku


Joe Aicher

Looking forward to your hot take. So I will stand out of your way, and you can take over.

Jimmy Ku

Thanks so much. So, hi, everyone. I know we’re here to talk about the sales track and sales in general, but let’s be honest: no one really likes being sold to. So I’m actually here to tell you a little bit about how the old ways of trying to sell just don’t work anymore for Enterprise merchants. 

Instead, what we really want to focus on is how you can win by focusing on how you and your company can actually provide value to your customers. And that’s through this idea of a value-based sales approach. 

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. So I’m Jimmy Ku. I’m currently the Head of Growth for Developed Markets at Flutterwave. During the last six years, Flutterwave has grown to be the largest payment infrastructure for Africa and for businesses that want to explore how to do business in Africa. We have over 1 million merchants that have processed over 400 million transactions, totaling over 25 billion in total payment volume. So that’s a lot of growth over the last few years.

Over the last five years, I’ve also talked to over 1,300 different startups, and I’ve helped companies raise over 540 million in additional funding. Now, the key to both of these things and the thing that binds them both together is this idea of focusing on value and what kind of value we can actually present and provide to the customers and people that we’re talking to.

So this idea of sales and salespeople, you have this idea in your head, this concept of this hard-nosed close at all cost, coffee is for closers mentality from Glengarry Glen Ross and the famous slogan or the famous ABCs of sales, Always Be Closing. It’s this idea that most people have when they think about salespeople. But that mentality just doesn’t really work in this day and age, especially when it comes to enterprise sales.

Winning With Value-Based Sales With Jimmy Ku

The fact is, people don’t really like being sold to. When you start talking about your product features and what you’re doing, and you’re going off on your script, most people tune out. They’re not really listening anymore. So, how do we actually help provide information as opposed to trying to sell them? The way we do that is we have to really think about how to change the narrative and how we actually talk to the people we’re talking to.

We need to stop talking about features and stop going off of a regular script. Stop being boring. We need to figure out the right information that matters to the person you’re speaking to. Quite frankly, most of the information you’re talking about your product set is already available online. So what you really want to do is think about what it is that will be important to the person you’re talking to and to differentiate yourself in that conversation to them. 

You really have to convince them that the product and service you’re providing is going to be a differentiator for their business, is going to be critical to their business, and is going to add value to their business. And that’s this idea of value-based sales.

So, the future really is about this idea of value-based selling. What does that mean? Value-based sales is when you prioritize your customers above all else. You’re not really selling them anymore. You’re actually flipping the script. You’re thinking about it more as a consultant. 

Winning With Value-Based Sales With Jimmy Ku

How can I, as a consultant, an ally, a friend, help your business? What are some ways that we can be helpful to the problems and issues that you see? And how is it that my product or service is really addressing something that’s a real core issue for you? So that’s really what we focus on there.

For Flutterwave, one of the things that we talk about is our core values. And our core value, the first one we have, is that we are more focused. In fact, this permeates everything that we do, definitely within our sales organization. 

And the way you go about doing this is to really tune into “WIIFM” – What’s In It For Me. At the end of the day, when someone is listening to your pitch, they’re thinking about the same thing. What’s in this for me? Why should I be listening? What’s important here? And that’s what you really have to think about as well. So, turn it around. Think about how you can provide value to them.

And there are a couple of ways we can go about doing that. The first is to prepare. Now, preparing can be practicing; it can be practicing what you want to say. It could be practicing and understanding your product as a whole. But there’s a lot more in terms of preparation that you can also do.

So think about the meeting you’re about to have. How did the meeting come about? Was it inbound? Who made the inbound kind of introduction originally? Is it outbound? And what are some of the things that they were interested in that made them want to talk to you? 

So think about how that even came about, but more importantly, who are you talking to? Did you do research on the company, on the person? Look at their LinkedIn and some of the recent news and information about the company. Do you know who is a part of the conversation you’re about to have?

Being prepared, doing that research, really helps set you up for success and makes sure that you provide the information that’s necessary for them. And ultimately, if you do a little bit of qualification beforehand, it can also go a long way towards helping to make that conversation helpful as well.

Winning With Value-Based Sales With Jimmy Ku

One way to do that is to think of BANT–Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe. So, will this company have the budget to do something with you? Does the person have the authority to make the decision? Is there a need for what you’re having a conversation about? And what’s the timeline for implementation? What’s the timeline for doing this?

At the end of the day, the process itself–trusting the process–is to really focus on value. If you remember value, you’ll remember what we’re trying to do here. 

Winning With Value-Based Sales With Jimmy Ku

So, the first is to look to add value to every interaction. Every meeting should have something new. Otherwise, why are you having another meeting, right? So make sure in every meeting, there’s something valuable that you are providing in that conversation.

The second is to adapt. You really want to adapt the conversation and your pitch to what the customer really needs and provide only the points for the issues that they have. Don’t waste their time if you’re not going to talk about relevant stuff. They’re going to tune you out, and there’s no point in wasting their time. 

So, adapt your pitch to the things that are most relevant to them. And in the conversation with them, make sure you listen, actively listen, ask the right questions, don’t lead, and just talk about your sales pitch, but really hear what they’re saying, what their issues are. 

The best questions to ask are the ones that are probing but also open-ended. So, ask questions that help you get a better understanding of where their pain points are.

The U is to understand your unique selling proposition. This is your product. If you know your product inside and out, you know how it addresses the issues that they are having.

And then that last E is to be empathetic–be genuine, build trust with those customers. Focus on their pain points and show them that you’re truly understanding and caring about the issues that they’re looking to resolve. You’re not looking to just sell; you’re really looking to help.

So, if you do that, at the end of the day, you can focus on these drivers of value. These are ways you can help your customers. You can help them make more money, you can help them save money, you can help set them apart from the competition, you can help them reduce the risk of their business, and you can help them in other qualitative value metrics as well.

Winning With Value-Based Sales With Jimmy Ku

So, to summarize, the value-based sales idea is key for high-growth companies. And one of the quotes here is from Value Selling Associates, which saw that 87 percent of high-growth companies actually do take this approach. So, this is important for high-growth companies like Flutterwave and others.

And I think if you have any questions, what I’d like to offer up is happy to have a conversation with you–whether you want to talk about sales, whether you want to talk about growth, whether you want to talk about the growth opportunities in the 5.6 trillion dollar consumer and business spend opportunity in Africa, or you want to talk about fundraising. I’m happy to have that conversation with you as well.

So here we’ll be moving on over to Q&A.

Bc Htl Logo Sq@2X

Hot Takes Live


Catch the replay of Hot Takes Live, where 30 of the top SaaS leaders across Marketing, Sales, and RevOps revealed some of their most unpopular opinions about their niche.

These leaders shared what lessons they learned and how they disrupted their industry by going against the grain (and achieved better results in the process).

Joe Aicher

Yeah, great! Thank you so much, Jimmy, this was awesome. And I think this approach, this value-based selling approach, is really key when you’re talking about those last few points when you said empathy, right? And trying to really understand where your buyers are coming from. 

And that other key point that you mentioned around “what’s in it for me,” right? How many times have we gone through a sale where we’re just pitching the product, right? We’re going through all the features, we’re going through all the things that it can do. We haven’t really actively listened, we haven’t really understood what their pain is, and we’re really not throwing any value over the fence, right? 

I’m wondering how you feel like that’s evolved for you, in your own journey, like trying to sell over time. How have you shifted that strategy to become more value-based?

Jimmy Ku

Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think I still get on calls all the time where there are SaaS providers that want to sell and pitch, and it’s the same thing in my mind when someone’s pitching me. And I know that that’s happening if I’m having a sales conversation as well. 

So, for me, it is really about listening to what they are looking to do, what they’re looking to accomplish, what their major pain points are. There are some high-level things you can do to get the conversation started; that’s fine. 

But if you are going off and continuing your pitch without really truly listening and not really asking any questions, they’re not–you’re not connecting with who you’re talking to. And for me, it’s not about selling at the end of the day. If you can provide value, your product sells itself, right? 

So, and I think that that’s the key here, is that it’s not just me trying to sell you something. It’s me having a conversation with you because there’s something that we are providing as part of our product that is solving a problem that you have. And if you don’t have that problem, then, you know, there’s no need for me to sell, you know, a refrigerator to an Eskimo kind of a conversation like that’s–that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to solve a problem.

I used to be a consultant as well, so having that kind of approach has always been in my DNA. And I think that that’s the best way to go about having a conversation with a customer is to solve a key problem because both parties are aligned in what we want to achieve together.

Joe Aicher

Yeah, for sure. I think something else that’s been coming up as a repeated sort of topic, I guess, throughout this whole track, has also been this idea of having subject matter experts as part of your sales team and really taking a consultative approach, as you just kind of mentioned. 

How important is it to you that you have reps that really take on that learning and understand what they’re trying to address, what their product is really solving for, and really educate the buyers about it? How important is that aspect for you?

Jimmy Ku

Yeah, I think as a representative, we want to be able to showcase what the unique selling proposition is and be able to answer the questions. But we also can’t answer every possible question. 

So, to your point, there’s a need sometimes to bring in subject matter experts, especially as it relates to Flutterwave. I just had a merchant recently where we brought in subject matter experts for specific regions of interest because we’re talking about 54 countries in Africa, with lots of different nuances with each and every country. 

So I brought in some subject matter experts to have that conversation, and that meeting was one of the differentiators because we can bring that to the table that others cannot. And so having that approach and having team members who can assist and be subject matter experts, I think, is a big kind of value add as well.

Joe Aicher

For sure. Well, Jimmy, thank you so much for jumping in here today.