01 Apr The Only Value That’s Relevant
The Only Value That is Relevant
Do you remember Sales 101? One of the first lessons is the difference between features and benefits. Here’s a quick review:
Features are the elements of an offering, e.g. “We have the most sophisticated purchasing program in the industry.”
Benefits, on the other hand, answer the question, “What’s in it for the client?” So, in this example, the benefit statement might be; “Installing our purchasing program will reduce your costs by 7% and allow you to improve customer satisfaction by an estimated 20% with a fresher and more varied selection.”
The extent, to which the benefit fulfills a recognized unmet need, or a prioritized client expectation, is the extent to which the associated feature contains “Relevant Value” for that client. What we know, or think we know (because we’re the experts – right?) really doesn’t matter much, unless we can successfully educate the client about its importance – and its relevance.
Here’s an exercise to help us get there, we call it “3 Perspectives”:
- List the major features (not benefits) of the service that you are providing. Limit the list to no more than 10.
- Create 3 columns, the first is titled, “Our Client’s Perspective”, the 2nd is “What We Know To Be True” and the 3rd is “Ideal for Client Retention”.
- In each column, you have 100 points to spend. Allocate the points among the features such that each column totals 100. (You should consider having different departments do different columns, e.g. Sales takes Column 1, Ops completes 2, Marketing #3.)
Then go back and identify the big differences in the column values across each feature. Where there are large gaps, these represent the major communication and education opportunities for the account team.
• Primary Communication / Education Opportunity: Clearly, if we know a certain feature is vitally important to our ability to do the job for a client – and the client doesn’t recognize its value – we have a big unrealized opportunity to communicate more effectively.
• Secondary Communication Opportunity: Conversely, if the client places high value on something we’ve failed to emphasize, that’s significant too. We should be promoting it!
• Strategic Necessity: Finally, if something that we need to be providing and communicating, in order to put us in the strongest position possible to retain this client, is not happening – we need to fix it. We may even need to invest in developing the capability that fills the gap (before our competitors do).
The wider the gaps – the more dysfunctional our alignment with any individual client. Simply stated – we’re just not on the same page – and when we’re not – we’re at risk.
“Relevant Value” – It means having the discipline to see the world from your client’s point of view – and the bias for action to respond accordingly. It’s when to be there with the cold drink of water, not the handful of diamonds.
Steve & John