Reflecting Value with Your Client

You look in the mirror, that reflects a mirror that reflects a mirror that reflects a mirror.

We all have at one time been fascinated by the infinite regression of two mirrors facing each other. The value of the original image in the mirror becomes secondary to perpetuity of the reflections. This is a relationship. A relationship between the two that builds on each other. This should be your goal with your client. The original scope of your contract is nothing compared to potential as you build a relationship. You want to identify the client's needs and provide the services to address those needs.

At a social event this weekend, I was in conversation with a strong business development leader. We were comparing notes and came to the same conclusion. The intent or scope of the client is just the beginning of the conversation. The key is to identify what is commodity-driven and what is of unique value and then structure the relationship around those two keys. Provide and price the commodity but then bring the unique value to the relationship. Anyone can provide the commodity, Only you can provide the unique value to the client. That wins contracts.

What is unique value? Commodity-driven needs are focused on getting from point A to point B. Unique value is understanding why the commodity is needed and assisting the client in getting beyond point B. Unique value can be providing distribution. Unique value can be in providing the insight of improving the production flow. Unique value can be providing the best practices. At times the client may not have initially identified what is truly needed.

Winning a commodity-driven contract is not just based on price. Sometimes it is looking at the client and saying , "You asked for _____, we are providing that but we also believe that you will need or would want _____. "

The client is always right, but you also need assist the client in understanding what it really takes to get there.

Editor's Note:  This post was first published on 12/14/2009.

About Sprawlgeek.
A Seasoned Technology Visionary possessing a deep understanding of technology and business processes.

Doug has accumulated over 35 years of experience in the technology and media markets. His broad career has ranged from leading Research and Development work for a 300+ million dollar company to an E-Government startup. His efforts have been recognized by major trade associations as well as Tier 1 clients.

Doug is now a private consultant and continues to provide his insights to the industry.