So I’m at a client of ours this morning talking about our value, and he made an interesting statement.
“When you tell us that you will validate our design, what are we supposed to say?” he asked. “Thanks for telling us that we know what we’re doing?”
All too often we make an assumption that we know more than our customer or prospect about anything and everything. This customer reminded me that we need to ask a lot of questions to find out where, exactly, we add value. Sometimes it may be in the technical area, but more often than not it’s helping the organization understand business process.
Later in the conversation the customer shared with us that they had procured a very expensive security event management solution.
“And then it started to work,” stated our customer. “Access was shut down and security rules were automatically implemented. We never thought about the ramifications!”
In this case, our customer knew how to configure the system. They understood the technicalities of making it work. What they didn’t understand is how the solution changed the way they approach security processes. Do you think we could have sold them a project to install the system? I already know the answer, since they bought the solution from us but didn’t use any services. On the other hand, if we had worked on selling them a framework on how to incorporate the solution into their existing processes, do you think we would have been successful? I believe the answer is yes.
Here’s the cool thing. Most of us have been selling or implementing technology for years. We have the ability to take a step back to understand technology’s effect on business and processes. I think that’s where our real value lies. Most of our competitors sell prospects on installs. Today, our customers are smart enough, or think they are smart enough, to do the installs themselves. The real value lies in tapping our experience and observations of how technology changes business process, and educating our customers.
Now that’s value.
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Chris is currently the Chief Innovation Officer at Internet Marketing Ninjas where he manages M&A activity, legal work, and also focuses on the use of technology and other solutions to lead innovation and growth. Prior to this, Chris led the sale of his $10mil information technology company, twice an Inc500 fastest growing company in the US, to an investment banking firm in NYC. He has a strong passion for sailing, and had the opportunity to spend two years travelling from Lake Champlain to the southern Bahamas and back with his family.
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