html5reset May, 2016



When I am asked by clients to step in and help them address key existing accounts that appear to be in trouble, I find one consistent thread in virtually every instance—my client, the seller, did not sell to their customer’s outcome. Rather they focused on selling their own products and services (with their features, functions, etc.). When their customer is unhappy with the results, and is considering a change, invariably the sellers are perplexed. From the seller’s perspective their products and/or services are “performing as advertised.” What’s to be done? Unfortunately, there may not be much that can be done to save this customer since the actions should have been taken long before now.

Creating Value – Selling to the Customer’s Outcome

As I’ve stated before, selling is nothing more than creating the potential for value for the customer. Don’t waste their time pushing your products or services. Don’t try to convince them they have a problem they don’t believe they have. Simply seek to understand what the customer is trying to achieve – meaning the outcomes they want to obtain and how they will measure success for those outcomes. How they will measure success is ultimately how they will measure value. You create value by showing them you are capable and committed to providing more or better or faster or cheaper outcomes than their next best alternative.

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Recently I spent two weeks in Asia working with one of my buying organization clients.  During that period, one issue consistently came up when discussing live deals and sellers – especially those they wished to have a long term relationship with.  And the issue was that my client just could not figure out what was important to the selling organization and what each seller wanted out of the deal and the relationship.

This is not an atypical occurrence and it certainly is not one that is specific to Asia. I’ve seen this all over the world. Why are selling organizations universally reluctant to share with their customers what is important to them in a deal? This is a question I have been asking myself for some time. After many discussions with both Buying and Selling clients, I have found there are three basic reasons and I would like to address each of these in turn.

#1 – I don’t want to give the Buyer any power over me in the negotiation!

This is the most common reason I am given by sellers and yet it is completely false. Power in any sale and subsequent negotiation does not come from what is important to you in a deal.  Power is a function of each side’s alternative. The side that can walk away from a deal with the least pain is the side that has the power. It is not a function of what is important to each side in a deal.

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