Are you tired of coming second?
Selling goods and services has never existed in a vacuum. There's always competition or at least perceived competition, and today this competition seems to be getting more intense across so many sectors. And sadly do you come second or third, or even fourth....too much of the time?
Now here is something to debate " Those that are the most relevant always win!" Oh you may say, "we had the best product and the best price and we still didn't get the order".
Well, all that can be said is that something else made the competition appear more relevant to the customer than you. It could be one or many reasons that combine together such as; closer relationships, the buying parameters, previous experiences, direct orders from above, delivery requirements, value-add associated training, buy-backs....and so the list goes on depending on your line of business.
Discovering the wants and needs of a customer is an extremely valid way of seeing whether your organisation has the goods or services to match these wants and needs. However a customer discussion that essentially asks, "what do we have to do to be most relevant?" is rarely undertaken let alone executed on.
A discussion like this opens up a whole new playing field compared with simply asking questions of what a customer values. Relevance goes far beyond values and introduces other elements that a sales person or marketing person really should know about. should be on top of!
Relevance is health-marker for the selling organisation. Are you telling the right story that best describes what you have to offer? Are you in fact segmenting your market and attempting to produce differing stories that these segments really respond to? Are you providing goods and services that best fit these segments and in particular are you selling through sales channels to these segments in ways that they prefer? And very importantly is the overall customer experience - exactly what each segment requires? This is called "contextual" relevance. Get this wrong and you can be become an instant irritant.
Now your company might be one of the lucky ones, in that your sales people and your marketing people are trained to explore the realms of relevancy with your customers. But if not, then it is more than possible that sales efficiency and sales effectiveness are suffering. For much of the time you might be shooting in the dark.
Without a relevant discussion with your customers, (it's quite a skill to acquire and a hard behaviour to maintain), you may not be able to adjust what you are offering and so optimise your relevancy. You won't be in a position to counter-balance perceived relevancies underpinning the customer's drivers, by offering other important unthought-of variables. And in fact you might even be wasting your time, submitting those tenders where you just can't win. On the other hand you might never really figure out your competitive advantage in any given situation, without knowing the extent of your relevance.
So start to introduce the concept of relevance in all situations you will be surprised at some of the positive outcomes. Be relevant be first!