The idea of creating value can easily be summed up as helping your clients. The more you help your clients, the greater their preference to work with—and buy from—you. Here are nine ways you help your clients and create a preference to work with you.
- Providing a New Vision of What’s Possible: You will often find your clients mired down in the status quo, sticking with the devil they know, and working to survive. Without a vision for what’s possible, nothing is pulling them towards something better. One way you can help them is to provide them a new insight, sharing with them what is possible. They may struggle to believe that what is possible for others isn’t possible for them, and they may need a little proof and some time to come around. However, when they do, your clients value you showing them the way forward.
- Explaining Why They Struggle to Produce Results: One of the main ideas in Eat Their Lunch is about helping your dream client understand why they are not producing the results they want. While your contacts know their business better than you, it is unlikely they know the intersection of your business and theirs nearly as well as you do. When you can identify the factors causing them to struggle, you help them recognize the need to change, and with that discovery, you have helped them take the first step in any change initiative: awareness.
- Helping Them Shift Their Focus to Strategic Outcomes: You often find your dream client trying to fix the presenting problem instead of focusing on something more substantial. They think about purchasing this thing or that when they should be giving their attention to the strategic outcomes they need. You don’t buy sales training; you buy higher sales. You don’t buy a marketing campaign; you buy new customers or new sales. Many of your prospective clients will need your help to focus on what they really need.
- Preventing Them from Underinvesting: Every client you acquire is going to ask you for a discount. They believe you have padded your pricing, and they are exercising their responsibility to their company. That doesn’t mean you should provide them with a lower price. More often than not, your clients would have an easier time achieving their strategic outcomes by investing more money—not less. Never in the history of solutions has taking money out of a solution produced a better result. You help them by matching the investment to the outcome.
- Managing the Process of Change: Even in the best of circumstances, change is challenging. Many of your dream clients won’t have a process for moving from their current state to a better future state. They won’t be aware of the conversations they need to have within their company and aren’t likely to know how to build consensus within their team. You are valuable to them when you help them do all the things they need to do to change, and in doing so, produce better results. (If you want to learn how to manage this process, see The Lost Art of Closing).
- Sharing the Choices Available to Them: Because you have situational knowledge, you are aware of the different ways companies can go about doing something. The contacts within your prospect companies won’t have the same experience as you, which means what you know is valuable to them. You create value and a preference to work with you when you can help them make smart trade-offs and sound decisions about how to get better outcomes.
- Working to Understand Their Business: You create separation from your peers when you work to understand your client’s business. You increase the value of your advice when your recommendations consider the context of your client’s business, their challenges and opportunities, and their ability to execute whatever solution they choose. Most won’t take the time or expend the energy, and by doing so, you will look and sound very different from your competition.
- Becoming Their Second Brain: So, you want to be a trusted advisor, eh? If you aspire to that title, you are going to have to start by reading widely. You’re going to have to go deep and wide in the area you want to become an expert. You cannot be a trusted advisor in business without being interested in business. If you’re going to be valuable to your dream clients, do the reading they won’t do, study the things they won’t study, and find the ideas that they aren’t trying to discover. By becoming their second brain, you alleviate your client from having to do the hard work of thinking as it pertains to the outcomes you sell.
- Executing and Helping them Execute: In the end, when your dream client becomes your actual client, they need you to execute your solution and help them perform on their side. The better results you help to produce is what solidifies your relationship and your place at the table. When you generate results, you earn the right to propose and pursue what comes next.
If you want clients to prefer you and your solutions, create more value for them than anyone else.
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