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It is always about the customer

Author: Matt Webb

Published May 2020

A couple of years ago, I remember a meeting with a customer who wanted a workshop around negotiation skills. I asked the customer why they needed this and there was no clear answer. Now, I could have provided the workshop, it might have gone very well but what long term value would I have created?

 

Many companies around the world have fantastic products, fantastic service and great people working for their organisations. But is this enough in the professional selling world to help your business really stand out from the competition? The challenge many companies have is that whilst their product or solutions might be subtly different from the competition, often, the difference is minor so how do you truly differentiate and create great value for your customers.

Here’s the secret

Well, here’s the secret. Don’t tell anyone I told you this. Promise?

It’s not about you. It rarely is. Great value is created by our ability to truly understand the customer need, the business outcomes they are looking to achieve and what this will mean to them as individuals. The products and solutions we offer, are merely the enablers for achieving these outcomes. So, put simply, it is always about the customer.

 

At the time of writing this, many countries are still amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses across the world will need to change the way they operate, who they buy from and what they buy as budgets will be squeezed and spending cut. Customer value has never been more important and what is seen as value from the customer’s side will have certainly changed as priorities are refocused.

Consider this

As you consider your sales approach, here are a few thoughts for you to consider:

 

  1. When you are engaging a new or existing customer a new sales conversation, think about the types of business outcomes your solutions can provide. These should be your lead message and not pitching your products or services
  2. Ask great questions to establish what they are looking to achieve (business and personal outcomes) and where possible, monetise the outcome
  3. Consider the different stakeholders who might be involved in deciding. The outcomes and “value” are likely to be different for different people
  4. Make sure you know the timescales the customer is working towards to achieve the outcome. This will help you stay in touch and measure the outcomes your solution delivers
  5. In your proposal, your solution overview should come second in the proposal not first. Lead with what you have established as their outcomes

The answer is…

Research shows that according to buyers, less than 5% of sales professionals differentiate their organisation from the competition. This is not good news for selling and my belief is that this happens because sellers focus too much on their own products and services and pitch their solutions rather than following the recommendations shown above. A simple question you should always be able to answer is:

WHAT WILL OUR PRODUCTS OR SOLUTIONS DELIVER FOR THE CUSTOMERS BUSINESS?

In conclusion…

If you cannot answer this, you haven’t asked enough questions to enough people to truly understand value from the customer’s side.

 

My challenge to you is a simple one. Focus on the customer. Develop a great understanding of their needs and finally, contextualise your solution to their needs, make it measurable and great value will be created.

Value selling is value selling right? What happens when you can no longer see your customer, and how does that change the dynamics of your engagement? Join Matt Webb in this latest webinar series as he gives you the tools and tricks to keep your opportunities moving forward.