I learned this and have taught it to thousands of sellers, it’s the value realized through the implementation of our solutions. We have always focused on this as our value proposition.

The reality, is the other solutions, those offered by our competitors, probably offer similar value. Of course, there are small nuances and differences; “we do it this way, they do it differently…. we have all these features and functions that they don’t… and so on.” But in the end, there is probably little difference in the value realization. It there were, those who trailed would probably not be part of the customer short list.

Stated differently, the value realized from the implementation of our solutions is probably just table stakes. The customer is highly unlikely to choose us, based just on value realization.

It’s funny, the customer is engaging us, because we have a potential solution to what they are trying to achieve. And the competitors have similar solutions at roughly the same pricing. How we win, at this point, is less about our product and the value the customers receive in implementing a solution, but it’s about something entirely different.

So, how do we reposition ourselves, what does value mean if it’s not about what we deliver? If we want to create value that enables the customer to choose us, what do we do?

While putting a solution in place and getting the desired results is a challenge, it’s a known challenge. Customers, with the right support from their chosen supplier can achieve their goals.

The most difficult thing the customer goes through is: Recognizing the need to change, then navigating the change decision/consensus management process to actually arrive at a decision.

It turns out the greatest and most differentiated value we can create has very little to do with our solution. It is all about the value we create with the customer in their change process. It’s about helping them recognize and commit to the urgency of changing. That may require helping them to think about things differently, to open themselves to different approaches. To be curious, exploring new things, asking different questions. Helping them navigate this helps them recognize opportunities to grow and improve.

Once they’ve committed to the change, they struggle through the process of deciding what to do. We create differentiated value by helping them with this process. Helping them align their project team around what they want to achieve. Helping them understand the critical issues they should be thinking about, the questions they should be asking, the risks they need to identify.

In complex decisions, many people are involved, gaining and maintaining consensus through the process is a struggle. They may not know how to do this and they need help.

And because they don’t make these decisions every day, they struggle through their buying process. The issues they face are less around solution selection, and more about why they are doing this in the first place, then what, how, when and who need be involved.

When everything about the alternative values realized is not very differentiated, how do we create differentiated value. It’s easy, it’s the value we create in helping them navigate their buying process!

And it’s here, that we have a real opportunity. If our competitors, as they are prone to do, focus only on the product/solution, they aren’t helping the customer with the toughest part of their job. When all is is equal, the customer will choose the team that was most helpful in their process.

Even when all is may not be equal, the help we provide during their buying process can have overwhelming influence on their decision.

This is the most difficult part of what customers are doing–trying to solidify around a change initiative, trying to navigate it through the decision, and making sure they are making the best decision they can.

What are you doing to help create value in this part of their process?