by Tom Reilly, author of Value-Added Selling

Value-added is everything you do to something from the moment you touch it, transform it, and transfer it to someone else. It is how you put your fingerprints all over what you sell. This includes all of the reasons the customer would purchase your generic product from you versus the competition. Knowing your value-added is an important step in preparing to sell your value-added. There is another important preparation step that will help you present a compelling argument.

Once you understand your value-added, change the optics. On first analysis, you are viewing it through the eyes of a supplier. Try viewing through the eyes of the customer. Ask how the value is received. As a supplier, it is easy to say, “Here’s how we add value.” As a customer, you will say, “Here is how this added feature represents value to us.” Your value-added becomes value-received. This perspective offers a more empathic view of your solution.

From the customer’s optic, challenge the viability of your solution. Ask, “Does this translate into real value for the customer?” If so, it is a customer-driven solution. If not, why are you selling it? Value is the first word in Value-Added Selling. Value is always personal. It is whatever the customer says it is. For some, it is quality, service, and price. Others define value as technical support or innovation. In every case, they want to make sure that what you add is received well on their end—that your value-added is indeed value-received.

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