If you’re in the business of acquiring new customers, you’ve heard industry leaders shout it from the mountaintop: “Add Value!” “Create Value In Every Interaction!” “Value!!!”
With the shift, we’re seeing in buyer behavior, and the rise of ineffective automation, this is providing value is more important than ever. As teams realize that “hustle” isn’t enough and re-focus on building relationships in their network, we want to make something clear:
Information about your product is not value.
Adding value does not mean regurgitating your website. Sure, you can point your prospects to a few useful pages of your site during a demo as a resource, and provide some commentary to help them make sense of it. But don’t kid yourself by suggesting showcasing your product is a way to add value.
You can do better than that. Here is some practical advice you can put to work for you today:
1: Your product isn’t the value we’re talking about.
If you are only providing “value” by talking about your product, you’re likely order-taking and not selling. What are you offering to your prospects that your website or automation can’t?
2: Showcase you have meaningful insights.
One of the best ways to build your personal brand is to use your social network is to Showcase to your network that you have insights on their business, resources they can use, and networks to connect them. If you can do this, you’ll find yourself attracting buyers instead of chasing them. Creating content on Linkedin, writing blog articles for your site, and connect with people in your industry on a personal level is going to help you find better ways to do this over time.
3: Make deposits and give selflessly
This is one of the hardest things to do in sales because you don’t immediately see the ROI. Just like you can’t go to your bank and make a withdrawal without putting anything into the account, you can’t start asking for things from your prospects or network until you’ve given first. Put yourself in the shoes of the people around you and hunt for ways to help them in the same way you hunt for prospects. Don’t expect anything in return – this networking thing a long game. If it’s early in your career, one of the best things you can do is to start building your network.
4: Carry the water
On the podcast “Seeking Wisdom”, David Cancel at Drift references “carrying the water” as a way for young folks to protege or earn their stripes and learn from senior team members. He’s hitting the nail on the head, and it extends to sales. And no, I don’t mean help your prospect build a deck to pitch internally – that’s table stakes. Look beyond that – find a way to make their life easier in every interaction. That may mean offering to take something off their plate, drafting emails they can use internally, building custom onboarding plans – whatever it takes to save them time and energy.
5: Be their guide.
With the rise of available information, buyers will find value in clear and authentic explanations about that they may face in making a purchase decision. Become an expert on the industry. Help them answer questions before they ask.
For example, your guidance could sound like this: “One of the things we’ve learned from working with customers like you is that the security team will want to get involved, and this may be late in the process. When they do join late, they can cause major delays, so you’ll want to involve them earlier on. If you do that, they typically ask about two things: X and Y. Here’s how you can answer both questions.”
Remember, you’re not simply closing a deal for today – you’re building a relationship that will have a trickle effect for years to come. The CEO of Nudge.ai tells a story of the time he ended up at an NFL home opener through a series of random networking events:
Now get out there and add some value yourself, because you never know where it will take you.