What is YOUR Value Proposition? Identifying Customer Needs Previous item What to Expect from EDGE... Next item Trying and Learning...

It’s a tough question to answer: What value do YOU bring to your customer? We all have different approaches for demonstrating our value — myself included. Yet, my true value is defined by quickly identifying my customer’s needs through an open and engaging dialog.

While some folks can give an hour long presentation on “Here’s what we can do for you” before they really understand what the customer needs, others jump right in and ask, “What are your pain points?” Both of these approaches can backfire.

I’ve found that taking the time to have an open discussion before anything else can give insight.

To start a really good, productive discussion, I ask a great deal of open-ended questions and try to get a feel for what a typical transaction and a big project looks like for the partner. I also engage in a great deal of listening and note-taking, trying to glean any little nuggets that could trigger a follow-up question. Frequently, these follow-up questions will lead to the real meat of an issue or need, enabling the growth of their business. Ultimately, I identify needs.

This initial assessment builds trust and a rapport with the customer, so that they continue to view me, and by extension Comstor, as a trusted advisor and consultant. This trust often opens the door to conversations about other services and capabilities that Comstor offers to help them grow their business.

To illustrate, here’s an example from the federal space: We have a customer with a federal contract that requires very specific delivery of the gear they order. The specifics range from date and time of delivery, to the information on the label of each and every box — no matter how small — and advanced warning in their accounting system that the shipment is on its way.

In this instance, the opportunity for discussion was identified when I heard that the reseller had won the contract. Upon hearing the news, I reached out to congratulate them and asked them to consider utilizing Comstor to source their Cisco products. At the time, I had no idea that the contract had such stringent requirements on delivery!

After the first few orders were brought through Comstor, I realized that they were having the gear shipped to the reseller’s location and not the actual end-user. This process set off warning signs for me and begged the following questions: Why would they be bringing it to their own facility and then have to pay for shipping out to the end user? What is it that they were doing at their facility that Comstor couldn’t do for them? How can we save them the hassle of doing it this way and paying for shipping twice?

I reached out to the partner to discuss their problems and needs, and as they started explaining their process a huge smile came across my face. Their identified need fit right into one of our sweet spots — I knew I could achieve this for them cheaper and faster.

In the end, in addition to saving them time and money, the end user now receives their product quicker with our managed services and is extremely happy with the service they receive from our partner-reseller.

The bottom line: Listen, Pay Attention and Understand your value proposition!

To learn more sales and business tips from Danielle and the Comstor sales team pros, click here.