Close this search box.

Nobody wants A ¼ inch Drill. They want ¼ inch Holes

By Marc Petock, Contributing Editor

I was in a discussion the other day with a colleague from our product development team, reviewing our development initiatives. As we reviewed them, we got into a discussion (and rightly so), on the importance of product/solution value, not just the features, functions speeds, and feeds.

I explained that most people today seem to be far more comfortable talking about the features and functions of their products rather than discussing the value they bring, the business issues they solve, and the outcomes they provide.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for “speeds and feeds,” and conversations in which companies celebrate new features, new capabilities, and pretty web management consoles.

There is also a place—and a pressing need—for conversations to clearly describe what all these advances mean in a way in which customers see and understand the value of the solution and the outcomes that will be delivered.

Besides trust, delivering value is the most important aspect of any customer engagement and relationship.

Organizations—no matter the business or industry—can no longer afford a reactive approach to value. The value must be the focus and organizations must concentrate on value and the proof points that support them.

When it comes to value relevancy with a customer, we must recognize solving the problem(s), and acknowledge the cost of inaction and the need for change. Otherwise, the most likely outcome is the customer will simply decide to stick with the status quo, which in most cases, is to do nothing. In fact, it has been said that’s what happens in over 60% of well-qualified sales opportunities today; after months of consideration and copious amounts of sales energy and marketing resources, the prospect may simply decide to “do nothing”.

While many may have value principles that can be applied to their respective product and solutions, here are the ones I look for and try to apply:

Principle #1: Focus on the value of solving their problem(s) and achieving outcomes.

If one cannot identify the challenges, articulate the costs/savings, and analyze/weigh the consequences vs. the value of solving the problem, then the chances of getting an organization to agree to invest in any solution is remote or near impossible.

Principle #2: Be specific about the value your solution delivers.

Creating and demonstrating value requires you to get specific about the value your solution offers each prospect, rather than a broad description of all that you can offer. One needs to clearly explain how you deliver unique and relevant value to every member of the decision-making and influencing the team.

Principle #3: Create and capture mutually meaningful value in every interaction.

Establish mutually meaningful value in every customer interaction. This value might be responding to questions simply, directly, and completely rather than leading them around with an ambiguous or deliberately obscure response. Value might also be expressed by sharing an insight that causes them to think differently or by revealing a relevant “did you know” the fact they were previously unaware of.

Principle #4: Facilitate the buying process, not the sales process.

Many times, the opportunity is designed around the needs of the seller, not the buyer. So, it is important the process be designed around the key stages and milestones in your prospect’s buying decision process.

Principle #5: If one can’t contribute distinctive value, think about moving on.

If a solution does not offer a distinctively different value approach to solving the prospect’s identified problems and desired outcomes than any of the other options they are considering, you need to either do something about it or move on.

The values for smarter buildings are quite different today than they were two years ago or even five years ago. Building owners and operators face increasing pressures to operate and manage their buildings at top-notch performance and efficiency levels and achieve new outcomes that were previously not part of the conversation.

They are looking for environments that embrace the value of a solution(s) to enable seamless, flexible, collaborative, healthy, and comfortable working experiences in addition to maximizing resiliency, and operational and financial efficiency.

So, what does the title of this article have to do with this?

Customers in the building automation industry today are not looking for DIY projects. They are not looking for the drill so-to-speak to create a ¼ inch hole they need. The solution they need is the “hole” already drilled for them.

Find out what problem your customers need solving. That is where the value is.