In today’s complex security marketplace, if you want to compete on something other than price, you must focus not on what you sell but on how your selling adds value for those buying from you.
Customer value does not solely reside in the product or service, but rather in the manner in which they are sold and acquired and utilized over time. Adapting to these new business conditions requires that sellers move away from simply communicating information about their offerings and instead provide insights that customers cannot get everywhere else. The goal is to help the customer plan for the future, not just solve today’s problems.
To develop this visionary approach in its global network of authorized partners, Milestone Systems has been working with Connex Int’l Inc., a provider of training and certification services for IP video surveillance, to develop a comprehensive course on value selling. The course is geared to the advantages of open platform IP video technology, and includes seven themes that make up the “backbone” of knowledge that is imparted when educating Milestone dealers and systems integrators:
- Defining the open platform
- Communicating product value
- Educating with solutions to problems
- Leveraging the open platform ecosystem
- Servicing demanded value
- Shaping requirements
- Closing on value
Within each topic, numerous illustrative factors are covered to ensure that prospective customers are completely educated on the important benefits to be gained through the open platform approach to IP video surveillance systems. Attendees learn how to apply value selling practices by going through real-world sales situations so they can learn how to create consistency in the sales process, develop a sales coaching culture and model sales skill successes.
Featured in this article are summaries of each part of the Value Selling Framework. Read on to learn about the valuable strategies and directives.
1. Selling the Open Platform
Informing prospective customers how an open platform provides value over time is illustrated by the return on investment (ROI) that is realized continuously throughout a long system lifecycle, thereby increasing its worth.
More choices become available when a company is not put in “proprietary jail” — the term to describe choosing a limited solution with the constraints of a single hardware-oriented provider. An open platform video management software (VMS) choice, on the other hand, provides freedom through the ability to continue to expand the system limitlessly, incorporating new innovations as they become available. This eliminates the need to “forklift,” the term to describe changing a video surveillance system from the ground up.
Consider: You can only go where your path leads. The set of choices available at any given time is limited by decisions made in the past, so choose wisely with a truly open platform to ensure the greatest number of options for the future. The concepts to focus on:
Best-in-class solutions — How to match the most effective technology with the most important operations for the customer.
Extensibility — Good architecture provides a road map for the portion of the road yet to be built.
Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) — Single manufacturer offerings result in overall higher prices, so teach the customers about TCO in the long run.
Interoperability — A true open platform VMS is the core of device and system interoperability that engenders maximum end-user choice.
Scalability — One size does not fit all, so the customer must be able to scale up or down as needs change over time.
2. Communicating Product Value
Here is where a salesperson must cover four main approaches: 1) Product, the features and comparisons to competition; 2) Functionality, relating to the buyers and users of the system; 3) Future, talking about product maintenance and new capabilities; 4) Price, how the costs are segmented, supported and serviced.
The open platform advantage is defined as a bottom-up approach to building a lasting foundation for the future. Long-term TCO is protected through the ability to add new features with software upgrades and standards-based solutions. Hardware from the widest choice of camera manufacturers must be available along with ongoing support for new models and brands. Open platform IP video is scalable and future-proof as buyers’ needs expand.
Another critical sales point is the graphical user interface (GUI). This should have the ability to provide documented ease of use in multiple languages, customizable operator skill levels and other best-in-class technological advances including support for high definition (HD) and megapixel cameras.
It is a big advantage to present documented third-party integration capabilities with many other systems such as access control, analytics, point-of-sale (POS) and building automation.
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