In my last piece, I introduced the new ABCs of selling. Let’s do a quick recap…

From hard sell to adding value

The movie Glengarry Glen Ross was released in 1992. In a pivotal scene, Alec Baldwin tears a small town team of real estate agents apart, drilling them in the ABCs… Always Be Closing. It’s vintage hard sales. Take it from others before they take it from you, never give a sucker an even break, and remember customers are just fools waiting to be parted from their money. Your job as a salesperson? Take every last thing you can from every last customer you can.

The ABCs never go out fashion. But these days there’s a different meaning. Here’s what I think of as the new ABCs.

  • Add value
  • Be visible
  • Consistency
  • And the bonus D, deals and making offers.

I want to spend a bit of time digging into the meaning of “adding value”. And more crucially, how you can turn your business around by focusing on value.

Breaking down the concept of value

You’ll hear a lot of people talk these days about “adding value”. But if you listen carefully, very few understand what that means. To really “get” adding value, start with two things.

One. Understand the problem you need to solve. Go deep on this – realise the problem you’re tackling may not actually be the problem you need to solve. Often these are two different things. If you’re working for a client they may be too far in the detail to see this. It’s equally true when you think about your own business. Focusing on the day to day is hard demanding work – being in the weeds all the time means you can lose track of the real issues.

When working with a client sometimes you can uncover the real problem by spending some time thinking about the journey they’ve been on. What did they want to achieve when they started? How close to reaching that are they? If they’ve strayed from their plans, when did this start? And how? And finally, where do they want to be in the future? Thinking about these questions can help you see the true nature of their business, and identify more clearly the problem you’re facing. Understanding how a fundamental problem is stopping growth is the first way you get to add value.

And then, two. Who is your ideal customer? Too many businesses try to talk to everyone, and in doing so, never talk to anyone. If you can find the ideal customer, and find a way to talk to them directly, you start a correspondence that also goes a long way to delivering value.

It might be simple but if you do the work you get the treats

If that sounds like it is a mixture of being simple and hard work at the same time, that’s because it is.
But it’s not rocket science.
The thing is, few people do this sort of foundational thinking. They’re too busy rushing to a solution.
It’s the ones who are willing to really spend time addressing the basics of a business that get to add value.


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