Monday, May 24, 2010

What's Your Customer's 'Value Opportunity'?


A Value Opportunity (VO) is a need, want, or desire that is important to the person or company that would cause them to buy from you. There's no reason for a person to buy anything without that thing satisfying a need, want, or desire. Once you identify and fully understand what's important to the customer, you can show them exactly how your services/products will meet their need, want, or desire, thus prompting them to buy. If you don't identify the VO, then you're just throwing mud against a wall to see what sticks.

In order to identify VOs,you must actively listen to the contact and take notes during your conversation. Usually, as you are probing to identify a Value Opportunity, other VOs present themselves. Ideally, you want to fully understand the current VO before moving to another VO. However, if the contact wants to discuss a different VO, follow the contact's lead. Probe to fully understand the VO the contact wants to discuss. After you've exhausted that VO, be sure to go back to the original VO to finish probing to fully understand.

Some VOs are surface level. If you dig deeper to understand WHAT they are trying to accomplish in these areas and WHY, you'll uncover a core VO that you might be able to address with a greater number of services/products. That's key to generating additional sales from one customer.

A few other thoughts on VOs:
1. If you identify and fully understand a potential customer's VOs before making a proposal, your consultative approach will separate you from your competition.
2. VOs will vary among the decision makers and influencers. So, it's important to ask probing questions to everyone in the decision-making loop so you get a complete picture of the opportunity.
3. You may have to use multiple lines of questioning to fully understand each VO. You can segue between topics as much as necessary to fully understand a VO, as long as the dialogue remains conversational with the customer.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of three leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, and VertMarkets.

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