Over the last few weeks, I have begun to sit with the TV controller in my hands since the continuous barrage of political ads is getting worse. At least with a remote, I can either change the change or mute the TV. Weather and sports channels aren’t even safe anymore. And just think, there’s only seven more weeks left of this!
My biggest irritation isn’t that someone wants to tell me their story. It’s just the opposite – it seems each of these candidates wants to tell me their opponent’s story! So at the end of the 30-60 second ad window, I still know nothing about them and how they are going to help me. All that they seem to want to share is their opinion on why their opponent can’t or won’t help me.
They might slip in something about their own character and ability to perform. Which is great – if they would tie it to something helpful – like perform what?
The Wisdom in Value
For almost 10 years I’ve had the opportunity to work with a tremendous talent in the software industry. My colleague Gary G, or G² as he is fondly known, has participated in leading a number of software businesses from mediocrity back to highly profitable growth. Luckily for me, he believes in a strong partner ecosystem in achieving these successes which has benefited me personally.
While he hasn’t been a part of my business life for some years, we still stay in touch. Over the years, he has shared many of his ideas and his processes – and is a firm believer in reliable / repeatable plans for managing activity. A big contributor to his track record is his discipline to stay the course, while maintaining flexibility to refine the approach as new factors are discovered.
With all of this structure, I still had to ask if there is any one thing that he believes in as critical to his success. His answer was “Always Sell Value!” That takes understanding what the customer desires, being able to articulate that understanding through clear goals & reasons to support them – and instilling in them the confidence that you can and will deliver on what you offer – and agree to deliver.
For G2, it is never about selling product features or generic marketing messages. It’s about taking the time to understand the customer and their goals – and then match those to your capabilities to create a clear picture of the value that you can bring.
Once you have a positive understanding of your ability to satisfy their goals, then you can move forward with a confident and targeted sales strategy that conveys that value to the customer.
Is There a Match?
The opposite also applies. After hearing a customer’s story and goals and then comparing those with what you offer, you may not find a match. If that’s the case, don’t chase the wrong opportunity. Have the discipline and courtesy to not waste any more of your time or theirs.
Some don’t see the importance of investing in this time to really understand a customer’s needs (not just their stated preferences) against what you can offer to them. But without a clear understanding and the personal confidence that this understanding produces, how good will you be at selling value?
So don’t be like our current class of politicians. Stop focusing on what your competition doesn’t do and focus on what you can do. Then you can channel your energies into ensuring that customers are aware of those values that you bring.
We continue to apply this value approach with our prospects, clients and marketing programs. And I can tell you that it works. Thank you G², for such a simple answer to such an important question.
Wes Haubein is the President of HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile asset inventory management and warehouse solutions. He writes regularly about management, solution integration and technology, and won’t watch TV without a remote for at least seven more weeks.