Delivering value at a gradual pace

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Sales leads aspire to illuminate how their products, services, and capabilities will solve clients’ most complex business challenges. The client needs to see immediate value in what they’re selling before considering their products as an option. When the system or solution in question is especially complicated, there’s a normal tendency to want to help clients understand how it will fuel transformative value and accelerate outcomes for customers, partners, investors, and communities. As part of that, it can be tempting to paint a completely customized, rendered picture of how products will help clients sleep at night, including every use case, scenario, and imaginative solution we can dream of.

But that’s a mistake. Here’s why.


1. The downside of showing what is great

Be careful not to make great the enemy of good. This is especially true for products or services that are complex and technical in nature. If you have a basic idea to present that can go a bit more elaborate or granular, try to resist the temptation of going too deep into the weeds.

If what you have is “good“ enough for an initial presentation to your clients, be courageous enough to engage them. This will invite more questions from your clients, and drive momentum for follow-ups. One risk in presenting something that is already “great” is that it takes more time to construct. Also, you might think that what you have is great, but it still might not perfectly align with your client’s wants, needs, and aspirations.

2. The importance of putting it out there for everyone to see

When you have an idea that’s ripe for presentation, show it to everyone involved. This is where the best questions rise to the surface. If there are passionate reactions (and this is good!), welcome them and get deeper into your inquiry. Ultimately, this will give you an idea of what features and benefits the client is truly interested in. If your system already meets the client needs, it will become evident, and then you no longer need to discuss the other details that aren’t relevant to your client’s situation.

Be comfortable in gradually making the picture better and better with your client’s input guiding you along the straight and narrow. Let your team’s experts react as they craft solutions from outside the box. Let your salespeople chime in when they have anything crucial to say. This is all part of a gradual and progressive process of delivering the value that you want to see.

3. Uncovering the diversity of needs

It’s very rare that you have everything figured out about what your client needs, especially at the early stages of your engagement. You can’t base your pitch purely on assumptions, no matter how plausible these may seem.

When we talk about needs, we should be considerate of several levels of needs, namely, functional, emotional, and social needs. Your clients are sure to have them, and you will find out about these things, eventually. You’ll have enough discovery sessions with the people involved to further add quality and build on the value proposition that you’re trying to achieve.

Parker Lee

Parker Lee is the managing partner of Territory, a design consultancy, who has developed and led teams in transformation, design thinking, and business development for decades. Co-author of The Art of Opportunity, he has created and facilitated dozens of design and visual thinking engagements.

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