How Well Can You Convey the Value of Your Business?
Ask the right business questions to discover the real business value you deliver, then validate that understanding with other customers.
We all feel our companies and people are unique and the best in the industry. So why don’t prospects and customers see us the same way? Why can’t they differentiate the business and security value we deliver with commitment and passion? The age-old question that keeps people in the marketing business busily employed and thriving. Want the secret?
Not all customers are created equal, think the same nor hold the same value system. While you struggle to understand why a prospect would not recognize your high quality, yet competitively priced proposal is, well, because you made assumptions from a biased perspective — your own. How can you correct this glaring weakness?
Start with defining a more realistic point-of-view, specifically your customer’s or prospect’s view of the world — their world. The harsh reality is they only care about their business, not yours. So, the natural question would be, what do you really know about their business?
Could you summarize that understanding of their business in five concise sentences and with confidence to differentiate your company? If the answer is no, please consider some sales coaching points from an industry sales veteran.
Sales efficiency rule number one is the qualification of time investment disciplines, skills, experience and a process. A warm body that accepts a meeting is NOT a qualified sales opportunity. You may think this is an opportunity to “sell” your company, right? Wrong.
It is an invitation to waste sales time, tie up valuable company resources, create a false positive on a sales funnel, create quota hopes that will always disappoint, create emotional and useless rationalization, and end in disappointment. The result?
Sales turnover and loss of momentum and brand integrity while driving up your cost of doing business by $50-$100K depending on how long it takes you to make a change and incur hiring and onboarding costs. Rinse and repeat for your bottom line. Wake up, smell the coffee and make a sustainable change to profitably grow. Harsh, yes … reality check? Absolutely! Want to change?
Start with better communication in your company, with your leadership team and with your best customers. Leave your POV and ego at the door to learn and grow. Encourage different points of view and facilitate a SWOT analysis to drive deeper self-awareness. Ask your customers why they do business with you and you will receive polite platitudes, and while sincere, are not insightful. What is better?
Asking a deeper question of how your relationship impacts their day-to-day business life can be more revealing. Capture their exact words and then clarify for details. A response you might get, “I don’t have to worry about you guys getting the work done.” Dig in deeper to qualify what business value that statement has and means.
Does it mean they can concentrate on more critical goals rather than supervising your work? That has a dollar value. Take their salary and benefits and divide by the hours you save them on a project or on maintenance or service.
What other departments are impacted? How so? Can you quantify or qualify that impact? It could be as easy as asking, “How do we make it easier for you to do business with us?” Do you understand their culture, buying processes and payment procedures (a secret golden nugget for the sales teams is to ask how you can make it easier for the customer to pay your invoices)? Why?
Because it will help you establish a smoother relationship, get paid faster and make people’s lives easier. That equals a valued supplier! What is a side benefit to this?
You will build your business acumen. Do this with your leading vertical market customers. People like to work with people that know their business. That makes you different and builds confidence and trust from a customer’s perspective. They are more likely to promote you and your solutions to other departments and the boss.
Ask the right business questions to discover the real business value you deliver, then validate that understanding with other customers. Do that and you can drive the following strategy. “Our customers tell us we save them …” The effort to learn about your customer’s business will be appreciated, trust me. The result of this extra sales effort?
Your sales team can qualify sales opportunities more accurately. Not all customers will buy or pay for the business outcomes you can deliver. Treat prospects like your investments. Invest in the ones that will deliver the right returns.
Finally, consider implementing a stronger company communication culture process to engage, enable, innovate, and encourage creative thinking and dialogue with customers.
I will continue to share more thoughts on communication differentiation next month, so stay tuned!
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