“Admiral produces boringly good numbers” is a headline from the fall Times Online (UK). At K&R, we often write about the linkage between value and negotiation success (or sales success). Well-done value arguments are compelling. They result in shorter selling cycles and in more revenue and profit. Poorly done ones lead to longer sell cycles and discounted prices. Perhaps the most common value argument error we see is that people stop short of linking their value argument to a business result that the buyer cares about. Something like “My product will make you more efficient.” It isn’t enough. We know that to be effective, “efficiency” has to be followed to its logical business-outcome endpoint. In a simple way, Admiral gives us a clue for creating better value chains.
To write about negotiation and the news, you need to read a lot of news. In our searches lately, we have read a lot of recession articles. There is a sameness about them: the messaging is gloomy, and the “wisdom” is uncertain and repetitive. A search for “record profit” found the interesting article about Admiral Group in the Times Online (UK). In fact, Admiral produced record profits. How did this happen?
On the About Us page on the Admiral Group website there is a discussion of their company culture. Their statement is a simple example of how to follow a value chain. Here it is:
- “Put simply, Admiral’s philosophy is; People who like what they do, do it better. Happy staff will create happy customers, happy customers will increase profit and increased profit will make happy stakeholders. Happy stakeholders will want to grow the business and the circle starts again.”
Suppose that you want to sell something to Admiral. Do you say, “My product will make you more efficient”? No, you do not. What you say is this, “My product is improves efficiency because it addresses the usability complaints that your staff has about existing solutions. It will make your staff happier. Happy staff…” and so on. You now have a continuous linkage from your product to their profit. This is the beginning of a real value argument.
There are components to the argument that are missing. How much happier? How much profit? What is your position versus competitive alternatives? The professionals at K&R know how to structure value arguments. We can show you how to uncover the motivations and objectives of your clients and better understand what linkages to make. For Admiral Group, “happy staff to happy customers to profit to happy stakeholders”.
If you want to make the positive news (“boringly good numbers”), not the negative news (“recession batters another company”), think about the value you deliver – in the client’s context. (td)