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Over the last couple of years, we have been delivering a series of workshops for a major consultancy, aimed at helping their technical consultants become more confident in having sales conversations with their clients. There is no doubt they are very capable engaging in a technical conversation about their solution, but less so when it becomes less technical.

During the workshops as well as persuading the consultants to immerse themselves in their buyers’ shoes, we also discuss the importance of talking about value. But what do we mean by value? And in whose eyes is that value?

Clearly it starts with understanding clients’ requirements. If you don’t fully understand them, how can you possibly begin to start talking about value. So often in my experience the word value has been highjacked, with the client perceiving “value added” to mean things that I don’t want or need and an accompanying increase in the price. Frequently being driven by the fact the salesperson hasn’t taken the time and effort to understand the business needs.

We frequently say that you must put some measure on value, but I believe it needs to go further than this. You need to talk about value in terms of your client’s outcomes. What are they actually going to achieve as a result of buying your service or solution? The emphasis needs to be on “actual” not any hypothetical measures of value. Particularly in today’s uncertain world, client’s want certainty about the business outcomes they will achieve through the adoption of your service.

In an economy where there is an increasing trend towards solutions being offered “as a service”, the importance of articulating value is key for the vendor also. No longer reliant on a single transactional invoice, they need to convince the client to expand the use of their “service” in order to make it a profitable relationship. And the only way to do this is by talking about business outcomes they will achieve and then relating that to the value consuming more of your service will deliver.

Which really brings us back to where we started.

To demonstrate the value a solution can deliver in terms of business outcomes, take the time and effort to understand clients’ problems and needs. In fact, the entire organisation needs to demonstrate that they are tuned into their client’s challenges and requirements. If they don’t take the trouble to do this, they can’t possibly talk about the value they can deliver. They’re then relegated to only talking about their services features and advantages, which isn’t very persuasive in a sales conversation, and especially not in a complex sales situation.

In today’s world of uncertainty, clients need certainty. Certainty in the business outcomes your solution will deliver.

Chris Smith

Email: chrissmith@jaconsulting.co.uk

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chrissmithperborough


About Chris Smith - Chris has considerable experience of leading complex projects involving multiple stakeholders and third parties across public and commercial sectors. He is passionate about sales and business development and has the good fortune to have worked for, and with many of, the world’s leading technology companies. Chris has over 30 years of experience of wining and delivering innovative technology solutions into a variety of different industry sectors, ranging from £100k to £20m+.



And a final thought

At JA Consulting we help businesses and individuals take the theory of selling and put it into practice. We’re here to help you learn how to spot and grow business opportunities, how to develop strong and transferable selling skills and how to generate robust account management.

Look out for more hints and tips coming soon.

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