We often hear about offering value to our customers. Well great, but what exactly is value? Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, in this case our customers’ eyes. And like beauty, value can not be created, it is a subjective property of our solution, our service or product. This means that we need to see our solution offering from the customer’s perspective (as usual!) and look for the value through their eyes.
Note that value is not a static property either. A spare tire carried in the trunk of your car has little value under most circumstances, yet when you have a flat tire, it becomes very valuable. indeed So while your solution may have limited value today, it may become quite valuable next week, next month or next year. Timing is important to our customers and our job is to make sure that prospective customers knows the value of our solution (value proposition) when they need it.
This does not mean we do a dump of all the presentations, whitepapers, applications and publications about our solution on our customer all at once. More information does not mean more value, particularly as we are all swimming in an sea of information these days. Rather, the customer has the expectation that they will get the communication they need about the value of our solution offering when they are ready for it, where they expect to find it and in the format they expect to find it.
Simply put, our job is to deliver the appropriate information about the value of our solution to the prospective customer when they need it. Naturally what is appropriate will vary by customer, by purchasing cycle, by industry and by geography. Knowing the customer, their needs and requirements for valuable solutions is critically important.
For example, at one point in the selling cycle it is appropriate to do a presentation to the prospect about our solution offering. This presentation provides them with the basics of our solution – how it works, why it works and where it works. Of course the value here is in how they get better results with our solution and how it will save them money. (Hopefully it is a green solution too!) Here our job as sales people is to ensure that we do provide value in this presentation. After all who needs to sit through just another Powerpoint presentation?
At another point in the selling cycle, it may be appropriate to provide a webinar with a scientist using our solution. The webinar provides a good format for our prospective customer to learn about very technical aspects of our solution offering from a respected peer or key opinion leader. This information is critical to their understanding of the value that our solution offers so that they can plan their purchases. At this point we are offering value through a webinar that is presented at a convenient and appropriate time. Our sales job at this point is to sell the value of this webinar.
Whether you have a single opportunity to offer value or many opportunities to offer value, it is important to do it in the way your prospect expects it. Ultimately, when and how we deliver value determines whether prospects become our customers.
Value what is important to your customers!