Tangible Value is Only Half the Equation

This article from Colleen was originally published by Salesforce.com.

How can we ensure satisfaction and loyalty within our client communities? By documenting and communicate intangible value as well as tangible.  Intangible and tangible value are not mutually exclusive. They are complimentary. Consider intangible value as value-added, or value that is received that is not directly related to what your product or service does, but is what makes you unique or differentiated in the market. You might even consider intangible value as indirect, emotional, or peripheral.

For example, while you are helping a client reduce their costs by 10 percent, you can also be providing them expert information at round table discussions, helping them benchmark their success against the success of others in their industry, and introducing them to a network of others in your community who can help with additional best practices. Intangible value can be delivered because you have become a “one-stop shop” for all research in your field, or because you provide industry information in areas to which they didn’t have access before you, or even because you can make introductions to peers that they were unable to meet. In one case, a client of mine provided intangible value by introducing their buyer to a network of future clients they had not considered before.

An intangible value could also be that you provide networking introductions or opportunities. For example, one of my coaching clients, a huge global bank, offers an opportunity for their network of CEO buyers to attend luncheons and meet each other in small, intimate, and noncompetitive settings. They are able to have discussions about their business, ask questions, and share ideas in a way not often granted to them in their day-to-day lives. CEOs at these events routinely state that this “added benefit” of doing business with the bank is a key reason for them to stay a client. It’s this strong intangible value that helps our sellers be successful maintaining their current clients as well as attracting new clients.

To successful accelerate sales you must communicate tangible and intangible value, by delivering direct and indirect benefits to your buyers. And of course, you need to inform the prospect specifically about them! Here are 11 ways you can showcase intangible benefits to accelerate your sales.

  1. Offer user group meetings where your clients can get together as peers for discussions.
  2. Make introductions to other professionals who can offer advice complementary to yours.
  3. Refer new clients or new employees to your clients.
  4. Invite your clients to social events, community events, or fundraisers to help them raise their profile.
  5. Nominate your buyers for local or national business awards.
  6. Send your clients interesting and relevant information on their business, industry, and markets.
  7. Place buyers on client advisory panels to showcase them as leaders in their industry and be part of the development of leading-edge products and services.
  8. Provide awards inside your community for “best of” clients.
  9. Offer VIP plant or site tours of your facility to show them behind the scenes look of how you are serving them best.
  10. Invite buyers to be your guest at important industry tradeshows and conferences. Offer to submit papers or be a reference on their behalf to speak at these shows thereby raising their profile.
  11. Provide content for them to publish in their own newsletters, blogs, and media sites.

There are many ways to create intangible value for your clients. Chose the ones that are best suited to your business and be sure to remind your client regularly how they have benefitted from your relationship.