Yesterday I had a brainstorming session and I almost stepped into the trap of the old ways of selling: The product and feature marketing and sales strategy. Somehow the person kept on talking about USPs and I kept on thinking why did I forget this in my strategy… what’s wrong here?

3 hours later it dawned on me. I am not selling products. I am selling values. As a matter of fact I never in my life was a product and feature person. What made and still makes me unique, is my focus on the clients’ needs/wants/desires. We call this today “customer centered” sales strategy, or “complex” solution selling. Complex because we cannot just read off a list of product features anymore, if we want to be successful compared to our competitors.

Why does USP selling not work anymore?
Most of the products and services on the market are in a so-called “mature state” in the product life cycle. Rarely do we have “really new” products and services lately.
I, of course mainly think about the IT industry whilst making this statement. However, due to my consulting engagements in many different industries, I have a good overview of the different industries and their products and services. Racking my brain I cannot come up with anything really new in any industry. Except, for the fact that products and services get put into a new product mix and then revamped under a new name and strategy. But fundamentally the underlying products /services have not really changed.
As a matter of fact, products and services have become very similar as most of them follow a rigorous TQM Process (Total Quality Management).
But please surprise me, and let me know if our organization has really something new on the market. I will immediately invest in it.

So what’s left?
Not much of organizations that keep on selling on USPs in the future.

What now?
If organizations want to survive and be successful a new approach, a value based approach, needs to be implemented. One where the client and the employee is in the heart of the organizational strategy and feels “valued” as a human being. Where client and employee satisfaction is lived and honored on all levels of the organization. So everybody in the organization becomes an ambassador of the organizational values and lives them from the inside out and carries the message in all their thoughts, words and actions to the client, creating a deep trust relationship:

“Dear client, we value you as a human being, who has needs/wants and desires. We are honestly concerned about your well-being dear client. What is it exactly what you need/want and desire to be successful? Lets create a dialog, and maybe we have a product or service that meets your requirements to be successful. And if not, we had at least a chance to learn from each other. Because we dared to engage in a deep conversation, adding to learning and growing as a human being.

Just for today
Walk through our organization and see what people are talking about. USPs of products and services? Or are they talking about the humans’ needs/wants/desires? Where do you stand as a human being in your organization? Do you feel valued? Do you value our client? What are our values? What are the values of our organization? Do they match?

Lets start a dialog together…I am looking forward receiving your thoughts and comments…


1 comment

  1. Dear Martina,

    I like this approach and I see strong relations to your article about Leadership. To bring employees to this level of interacting with customers and set the customers in the center of your business you need real strong leadership in your company. Another key component is emotional competence and that’s what I’m missing more and more in the current management levels.



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