Differentiated Value — Just Good Enough!


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These days, so many of the conversations among sales professionals and pundits is about challenging our customers, about getting them to think differently, about creating superior and differentiated value. I talk and write about it a lot, as do many others.

Sometimes, when I sit back and re-read what I write, or some of what others write, I get the impression that what we challenge ourselves and all sales professionals to do is the functional equivalent of “solving world peace.” Sometimes we make the process of challenging, changing the conversation or creating value just too complex (I guess that’s what keeps many consultants and trainers employed).

In reality, our differentiated value only has to be “Just Good Enough.” It has to be better than the competitors or the alternatives, but it doesn’t need to be earthshaking. It’s probably valuable for us to start thinking of simplifying the process–it makes it more achievable for each of us and better for our customers as well.

Let’s look at some examples.

Often, I’ve stated, that we have to create “Value” in every interchange with the customer. This doesn’t mean we have to solve complex problems, or have the customer have a giant “Aha moment” in each call. The test for creating value in every interchange is if the customer can say, “That was a good investment of my time!” We may not have shared any great insight, we may not have shown the customer how they could save millions, it is just as simple as the customer saying, “You used my time well.” They might say “I learned something new,” or “I had never thought of things that way,” or “You were able to confirm that I am on the right track,” or “Thank you for listening and hearing me.”

In a time when customers avoid seeing sales people because sales people waste their time, the greatest thing that sets us apart is the customer that can say “That was a good investment” in my time. Over a customer buying cycle, if all else is roughly equal, the sales person that makes the best use of the customer’s time through their whole process will be the sales person that wins!

Sometimes the value that sets us apart is making things simpler for the customer. We are overwhelmed with complexity and difficult choices. Sometimes the greatest value we can create is to make things simpler for the customer. It could be being the easiest to do business with, it could be taking a problem off the customer’s hands and helping them, it could be being dependable–doing what we said we would do.

We can create tremendous opportunities and value for our customers. We can provide profound improvements in their business, help them identify and seize new opportunities, find ways to dramatically increase revenue or profitability. Our competitors are also trying to do the same thing.

Often the greatest value is just simplifying things. Often, it’s just using their time well. Value can be created and aggregated by dozens of small acts, when taken together are just good enough. Just the differentiation we need to be better than the alternatives.

It’s all the little things that count. Pay attention to them, use your customer’s time well, make their lives siimpler. If everything else is roughly equal, these become the margin of victory.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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