In Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition, I wrote about the four levels of value: Level 1: the value of your product, Level 2: the value of the experience, Level 3: the tangible result you produce, and Level 4: your ability to generate strategic outcomes that help your clients move their business forward.
Level 4, as you might imagine, contains the other three levels. Believe it or not, a lot of people still sell at Levels 1 and 2, relying on their company, their products, and their support and services for credibility. They believe these things are the value proposition, and by doing so, they not only absolve themselves of the responsibility to create value, and make it so there is no possible way they can ever be consultative or their client’s trusted advisor. Level 3, where most businesses have been commoditized, isn’t much better. If you have competitors, they can likely match your results.
Level 4 is altogether different. It represents a monumental leap in value creation. It moves to the role of peer and it is what makes you consultative. You are not consultative just because you are not smarmy and ask good questions. You are consultative when you provide the strategic advice that generates results beyond the lower level.
Ask yourself these questions:
- If you were suddenly gone, would your clients miss you?
- Could your clients easily find someone else to provide them the ideas and insights you provide them?
- What is the possibility that you have a competitor who is capable of providing greater advice as it pertains to the strategic outcomes your clients are pursuing?
- Would your absence subtract enough from the overall value proposition that it would open up an opportunity for one of your competitors to displace your company?
The first three levels of value are easily acquired. They are all commodity level value, including level 3 (your solution solves your prospective client’s problem, as does your competitor’s solution). Only a strategic level of value would be missed were your client deprived of it.
If you want to learn more about Level 4, pick up Eat Their Lunch here.
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