The Negotiator Magazine

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Here’s the big question when it comes to establishing value: How can you create a mix from these six value areas to create a “total package” – a new mixture that uniquely appeals to your contact, and instantly differentiates you from any other option he or she may be looking at?

Each person with whom you deal will place a different level of importance to each of these six elements. The “magic” lies in learning which element is of greatest importance to a given prospect or customer -- which of your strengths you should emphasize or de-emphasize. To position yourself as a resource, you’ll need to develop the right combination of appeals, the combination that will convey the greatest level of overall value.

Your challenge is to learn what areas of value the other person will benefit from as he or she seeks to accomplish critical objectives. You must then focus in with intensity on your company’s (and your own) strengths in each of the appropriate value areas, and send the message that you can emerge as a resource by: increasing profits, increasing productivity, reducing costs and/ or increasing competitive advantage.

So, how can you deliver on one or more of those objectives? Let’s look at each of the six value areas in a little more detail now, with an eye toward helping you deliver a better value proposition than your (less-informed!) competition.

INFORMATION

This value area has to do with the organizational and industry expertise you can bring to bear in helping people address critical problems. It’s important to ask yourself: How much organizational knowledge do you bring to the table when you meet with a customer? I’m not talking just about what you know, but what everyone in your organization knows.

It sounds strange, but it’s true: We salespeople often give our customers too much credit. We assume they are deeply educated in their industries, and we underestimate the importance of own organizations in bringing critical industry information to the customer’s attention. Your customers want solutions to their problems -- and that means they’re looking for information, not just invoices.

So do what Titans do? Stop fixating on products and services! Make a list of all the intellectual resources your organization offers. Find ways you can offer value to selected customers by supplying non-confidential information. Consider, for instance, the newsletter.

Newsletters, bulletins and updates help enhance your image as an expert. People seek out experts; they like to buy from the authorities. Just by sending out valuable information, you position yourself as an authority. For existing clients, the newsletter becomes a value-added service they get just from doing business with you. For key prospects, newsletters are further evidence that they ought to be doing business with you!


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September 2004