Creating Value and Starting a Fire

Creating Value is Starting a Fire

Creating value is like starting a fire with primitive tools…

Value creation must start somewhere and lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about where and how to start creating value for brand new clients. I see a great analogy between creating value and starting  a fire with primitive tools. It looks easy when you watch a master at their craft but, like all things worth studying and doing, is more difficult in practice.

From a client’s perspective, what needs to happen for a potential vendor to begin to create value? ( I choose the word vendor because we have not earned partnership status. We have not earned trusted advisor status. We haven’t begun to create value.)
First, I must be interested enough to listen. How can you earn my interest ?

  • Open the dialog with great questions that challenge me to think about my business differently.
  • Bring new ideas to the table.
  • Demonstrate that you understand my view of the world and the problems I’m likely encountering. You don’t have to get it perfect but you’d better be looking at it from my perspective – sitting on my side of the problem, not yours.
  • Show me that you’re willing to invest in solving my problem, not just selling your solution. Your motivations are clearer than you think.
  • Are you interesting? Or boring me to tears?
  • Don’t expect me to act now because it’s on your agenda. If you’ve made promises to your boss, that’s your problem. I’ve made promises to mine too; those are my problems. How can you help me tackle them?
  • Remember, I’m a person, I have inner doubts and fears just like you. Why would I share them with you though? You’re not my friend. I’m not looking for new friends, however, I’d sure like to have someone in my corner, especially if I can trust you. (Will you use my openness against me?)
  • What have I missed? Please add your own ideas in the comments below…

To conclude, let’s return to the mindset of the seller for a moment. What tools do we have at the ready to begin creating value? How can we use these tools to generate a spark of interest, the smallest beginning of a flame?

Even more than usual this post is an exploratory exercise for me – a brainstorming into new territory – that I’m sharing publicly along with an invitation to be part of the conversation. Please let me know what you think. Tell me what I’m missing and where you’d make changes.