1. Value creation selling helps your customers succeed

    September 11, 2011 by

    Ram Charan, author of “Leaders at All Levels”, describes [1] a new approach to sales that revolves around helping customers to succeed. He calls this value creation selling (VCS).  Successes should be measured in terms of how customers benefit from your help.  The ability to create value for customers will differentiate an organisation from its competitors and attract a fair price paid in return from the customer. Value creation selling includes the following practices:
    1. Understanding the customer’s business by devoting time and energy to learn about it in detail:
      • What are their goals?
      • What financial measures do they employ?
      • How do they create market value?
      • What key factors differentiate their product or service from competitors? 

    2. Utilising new capabilities and tools for learning about how customers go about their business and how you could help them improve.  Staff from key departments must also highly familiar with these customers.  Share information about customers with key personnel and collaboratively decide the best ways to help the customer win.  Build new social networks which lead to frequent interaction among people from differing functional backgrounds.
    3. Knowing your customers and the customer’s customers. Tailor solutions to satisfy your customers' markets by discovering:
      • Who their customers are,
      • What they want,
      • What their problems and attitudes are, and
      • How they make decisions.
      • In order to devise unique offerings for your customer work backward from the needs of the end consumer to the needs of your In order to devise unique offerings for your customer work backward from the needs of the end consumer to the needs of your customer.

    4. Value creation selling generally requires longer cycle times to produce an order and to generate revenue. Therefore it requires patience, consistency and the development of high levels of trust with customers. Two-way information exchanges will be far deeper and lead to increased credibility.
    5. Redesign recognition and reward systems to encourage the behaviours needed to make the value creation selling approach more effective.  Members of the sales team in other functional areas must also be recognized and rewarded in proportion to their contribution.

    [1] Charan, R., (2010), Profitable Growth, Leadership Excellence, Vol 27, Iss 11, pp 3-5, Executive Excellence Publishing, Provo,

    Neil Crawford

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  2. Tips for Customer Service

    July 22, 2011 by

    Poor customer service including, indifferent attitudes, lazy or sloppy service and lack-lustre follow-up are extremely damaging for an organisation’s reputation. Brand value and sales stand to be lost due to poor credibility and loss of trust. Tessa Hood, managing director of Changing Gear, offers the following important tips [1] for delivering strong customer service:
    1. Never compromise on the service offered to customers. They trusted your organisation when they purchased your products or service. They will feel let down whenever that trust is not respected. 
    2. Gather feedback from employees concerning ways to improve customer service. Staff will appreciate their expertise and contributions being valued. These contributions often closely match the expectations of customers.
    3. Monitor and document customer services challenges, actions taken, and results achieved. It is helpful for customers to understand the successes that have been achieved on their behalf  and also for managers to acknowledge excellent results achieved by their teams.
    4. Ensure that staff appearances are of a high standard. Good first impressions are very important.
    5. Actively listen to customers. Keep eye contact and engagement with customers while striving to be absolutely authentic.
    6. Encourage staff and teams to develop wider networks. Networks can enhance and organisation’s reputation and lead to new prospects more economically than via advertising.
    7. Utilise the power of online branding. Use high quality content and links.
    8. Develop a strong people brand. Put a face on the organisation that both clarifies its brand and makes it stand out from the crowd.

    [1] R11102 Hood, T., (2011), Powerful service, Director, Vol  63, Iss  11, p 20, Institute of Directors, London

    Members can read the full article by clicking here

    Neil Crawford