Four Behaviors That Make You Transactional

Four Behaviors That Make You Transactional

You don’t want to be a commodity. You don’t want to price like a commodity. And you surely don’t want to be disposable or interchangeable like a commodity. If you want to be something more strategic, then you cannot behave transactionally.

Choosing the wrong medium: Email is the medium of the transactional. It’s not the right tool for the value creator. The right tool for the value creator is a conversation. Face-to-face is the preferred medium, then video conference, then the telephone. Email is reserved for simple information exchange. Email isn’t the right tool for selling or resolving concerns. It isn’t the right medium for pricing either. It isn’t the right medium for relationships of value. Strategic level value creators choose the right medium to communicate. They don’t choose transactional mediums for important conversations.

Avoiding the big conversation: Avoiding the biggest, foulest, hairiest challenges makes you transactional. If you aren’t helping your clients with their biggest problems, their biggest challenges, their biggest threats, and their greatest opportunities, you are behaving in a way that ensures they perceive you as transactional. If you want to be consultative, a trusted advisor, or a level four value creator, you have to instigate the big conversations. This is where you create the highest level of value. If there is an elephant in the room, you give it a name. Be a catalyst and address the real issues.

Not pricing based on the value you create: If you price based on anything other than the value that you create, you are behaving transactionally. This is especially true if you try to follow your competitors on price. If you beat or match their price, you are confirming that you are transactional. Your price must be divorced from anything other than the value that you create. I’m not suggesting that this is easy. And I am not suggesting that most of the rest of the world doesn’t believe and behave differently. But pricing as if you are transactional force you to create value like you’re transactional. Pricing like you are a strategic advantage allows you to behave as such.

Not taking initiative: There aren’t too many things that will make you transactional faster than complacency. If you aren’t pushing for the next improvement, if you sink into the warm comfortable feeling of entitlement, if you rest on your laurels, some value creator will come along with the next big idea and knock you right out of your status quo. Being strategic means that you bring the next idea. You kill the status quo in the womb, before it has a chance to be born and take hold of the organization.


What are the behaviors that make you transactional?

What makes you something more than that, something strategic, like a trusted advisor or a consultative salesperson?

What behaviors do you need to change now to prevent yourself from slipping into the false comfort of complacency and the status quo?

Is your price based on the value that you create? Or is it based on something else, like your competitor’s pricing?

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  • Lee Smith

    Truly excellent piece!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Lee!

  • Rebecca L. McCarthy

    Thank you for this excellent post! (I loved your webinar at Fridays with Vistage, btw. I learned so much.) One question: How do I quanitfy and price the value I create? I work with entrepreneurs who want to establish thought leadership and grow their business by becoming published authors. The value of a published book is not in book sales. Few people make much money from book sales, truth be told. The value is in the new clients the book reaches, the expert status that publishing bestows upon the author, the higher-profile, paid speaking engagements the author will qualify for as a result of publishing a book, etc. …and I’m just not sure how one puts a price on that? Theoretically, the price could be up in the tens of thousands of dollars for my services, if we look at the value I create, but that doesn’t seem to be reasonable. ….Can you offer any advice on how to quantify the value I create and put a price on it?

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      That’s going to require a little more of a response than I can tackle in a comment, Rebecca. I’ll write something for you.

      • Rebecca L. McCarthy

        Thank you!

  • Sherry Nouraini


    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Sherry!

  • John Lonergan

    I’m new to business this is something I didn’t even think about. Very interesting , wonderful article.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, John!

  • Pingback: Is Email the Wrong Medium for Value Creators? | Media Sales TodayMedia Sales Today

  • oldschoolgal

    I have always felt that face to face is best unless the client specifically asks only for email. However, I do still see them in person 3 – 4 times a year. It is nice to see validation in this article – I am old school and people just don’t believe how much travel I do just to keep in touch with my clients. I treat them the way I would want to be treated if I am spending money with them. KUDOS!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      I worry about a client asking for email only. Does that mean that they don’t believe you create enough value to give you their time?

  • Gerard Santini

    Dear Anthony:

    You are one of the few bloggers that write and make comments of a substantial nature. In fact, what you say makes a lot of success. I have always touted the idea of not being a commodity and the focus on being of value to your customer’s/clients’. Keep making good points and I will keep reading. Regards, Gerard Santini

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Gerard. I appreciate the kind words.

  • HazzyLu

    This article hits the nail on the head. Great! Complacency is a killer.