Adding value

Adding value

Paul Service of CommsLearning
Paul Service of CommsLearning

In these times of ever increasing financial pressure, we are all looking for ways to continue to grow our revenue, despite decreasing margins and increased competition. Although there is no one magic fix for these challenges, I believe a simple shift in both attitude and approach could well be the key to survival today and success tomorrow.

At CommsLearning we are looking at the economic downturn as a golden opportunity to turn the tables on how we approach our business. After one day of reflective thinking at the Convergence Summit listening to a number of inspiring speakers talk about the day-to-day challenges they are facing, something became crystal clear to me.

As an industry we are still trying to fit products to people, not problems to solutions. We all talk about consultative selling, but do we ACTUALLY DO IT? This was the Eureka moment for me, the solution suddenly became clear. What we needed to do is offer solutions that directly solve our customers’ problems. As a result, we have now reviewed our entire approach to business with this in mind. We have evolved our pitch, our products and even our strategy going forward for the next 12 months.

My recommendation is this; if you are struggling to win deals that 12 months

ago would have been signed on the spot, use this pressure to your advantage. Focus on the customer and their pressures; take time to understand how the financial downturn is impacting on them and their business. Then look for ways that your business can help in the short term. Be honest (with yourselves at least), if you cannot add real value or deliver short term ROI then perhaps you should move on!

The key to this is in managing your time well, use your time on those that you believe will see maximum benefit as opposed to those that will not. The thinking behind this approach is simple; you are looking to position yourself as a trusted advisor, who has the answer to their problems. If you get this right and really do have a solution to add short-term value to the business you will not only be getting that deal, but more importantly will be generating a new kind of customer loyalty. One that I believe will pay even more dividends on the other side of the hill.

Of course what I am talking about is solutions selling, but not just another course, as training alone can never change behaviours on this scale. What you need is a change in attitude and approach and that can only come from your internal leadership. You need the strength to dig deep into your business and be honest about where and for who you are adding most value and focus your efforts in that direction.

And now for the good news! The good news is that you probably already have the products, solutions and even the right people to do all of this NOW. All you need is to take a step back, change your attitude so that you are genuinely looking to add value and approach the customer as if it were your business and your problems.

Now is the time to evaluate and critique your offerings from the customers’ perspective. By doing this you will not only emerge with a stronger offering, but more importantly with a client base that will remember how you delivered for them when it got tough! You cannot put a price on customer loyalty like that!

 
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