The Negotiator Magazine

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STABILITIES

Another important value area is your stabilities. How strong is your organization? How well capitalized is it? How long have you been in business? How certain is a customer or prospect likely to be that you’ll be in business one year, two years, or three years from today? Is the same person who was answering technical questions six months ago answering technical questions today? Do you have a low rate of turnover in your company?

Is your company’s research and development department better funded than that of the competition? Can you deliver greater value through reduced costs or superior service over an extended period of time? These are all areas where you may be able to differentiate yourself from competitors who are less likely than you are to withstand radical changes within their industries of operation.

PRODUCT OR SERVICE DESIGN

This value area has to do with quality, features/functions and reliability issues. If what you offer is better made, breaks down less frequently, entails less down time, or is generally more reliable than that which the competition offers, then you stand a very good chance of helping prospects and customers who must attain relevant goals related to increasing productivity or reducing costs.

It’s in your best interest, then, to know how your product or service stacks up against that which the competition offers those customers.

ASSETS FOR KEY CUSTOMERS

Sometimes, special customers get special treatment. This value area has to do with such assets as a large research and development department that can develop customized enhancements, or very deep technical support on certain products or services. Can you think of times you were able to deliver unusual or exceptional levels of service that helped a customer boost productivity, reduce costs, or attain a competitive edge? In what areas can you “move heaven and earth” for an important prospect or customer?

Remember the old 80-20 rule: 20% of your customers will provide you with 80% of your business. While all customers are important and do deserve your time and attention, your biggest customers expect, and should receive, a differentiated level of service. They want to be rewarded for the amount of business they bring you. They should receive it!

It will costs you far less to capture additional business from existing accounts than it will to build up equivalent levels of business from new accounts.


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September 2004