In Eat Their Lunch: Winning Clients Far From Your Competitors, I wrote about the four levels of value: Level 1: The Value of Your Product, Level 2: The Value of Experience, Level 3: the tangible result you produce; and Level 4: your ability to generate strategic outcomes that help your customers grow their business.
As you can imagine, level 4 contains the other three levels. Believe it or not, many people still sell at levels 1 and 2, relying on their business, their products, their support and their services for more credibility. They believe that these elements are the value proposition and, in so doing, they are not only relieved of the responsibility to create value and ensure that there is no way to consult them or a trusted advisor of their customers. Level 3, where most companies have been trivialized, is not much better. If you have competitors, they can probably match your results.
Level 4 is totally different. This represents a monumental leap in value creation. This goes to the peer role and that is what makes you consultative. You are not advisory simply because you are not smart and you ask good questions. You are advisory when you give strategic advice that generates results that go beyond the bottom level.
Ask yourself these questions:
- If you had suddenly left, would your customers miss you?
- Could your customers easily find someone else to provide them with the ideas and ideas you provide them?
- What is the potential for you to have a competitor who can provide better advice on the strategic outcomes your clients are looking for?
- Would your absence be sufficient to subtract from the overall value proposition to give one of your competitors the opportunity to replace your business?
The first three levels of value are easily acquired. They all match the base value, including level 3 (your solution solves the problem of your prospective customer, as does your competitor's solution). Only a level of strategic value would be missed if your client was deprived of it.
If you want to know more about Level 4, go get Eat Their Lunch here.
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