Are you really creating value for your customers, or merely claiming to?  When we ask salespeople to say exactly how they add value, responses typically fall into one of three categories: 1) avoidance/no response;  2) A response based on a naïve (sometimes arrogant) belief that the product or service itself constitutes enough value; or 3) A description of pre-packed value as defined by someone in the corporate office with little or no understanding of real customers and their unique challenges. Suffice it to say, it’s a whole lot easier to claim value than actually create it.

 

Whose value is it, anyway?

Part of the disconnect lies in who defines the value.  If you believe that “you know best” and can decide what constitutes value for your customers, then you could be imposing your definition of value on them.  And, unless you’re a talented psychic, what you perceive as value and what your customer perceives as value are probably very different.

 

In the end, value is personal.  It’s a perception, like credibility and likeability.  And it’s not yourperception that matters, the customer’s perception of value is the ONLY one that matters.

 

Now, let’s look close-up at a more effective way to define value and present it.

 

You can’t add value to the customer until you truly understand your customer

Now, here’s the next wrinkle – You can’t add value unless, and until, you truly understand that customer. And we’re not talking about basic demographics or sales information, we’re talking about real knowledge of his/her business, industry, challenges and personal values and criteria.

 

Can you quantify how versed you are on these issues?  Let me help.  Answer the questions in the survey box at the end of this article to get a quick idea of where you stand.

 

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