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By Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

My co-founder, Adam Gray tells a story, he had to buy some radio advertising. The sales guy explained the ROI, etc and the impact. Adam asked, what do you mean by impact?

The salesman replied, “Impact means, the impact.”

Adam asked the salesman “explain what you mean by impact, without using the word impact.”

The salesperson couldn’t.

A similar thing happens when you get people to define the word “value”.

I was cold called by somebody who wanted to sell me a broadband service for about £50 a month. Not bad, but I live on a private estate and to get a £50 a month broadband service to my house would probably cost £500,000 to dig up and re-tarmac the road. The sales person said this was all feasible. I doubted an investment of £50 a month would cover the initial investment. When I asked why did the salesperson persist in trying to sell me something they could see there was no way I could buy even if I wanted to the salesperson said…. “all I’m doing is adding value”.

Surely adding value was to not to have wasted both of our time and qualified out sooner?

In addition to that…..

The term “Value” is relative. What you think is value and what I think is value can be different things.

I was contacted this week, the person had some sort of business intelligence (BI) tool for eBay Sellers. Now I don’t sell on eBay. Of course, he was very proud of his solution, to him it was “high value”. To me, not being a seller on eBay, it was low Value, in fact no value.

(I actually contacted him and said why he had contacted me and it was because I was an influencer, he even sent the list to prove I was an influencer. Influencer or not, still zero value. A small amount of research would have shown contacting me was a waste of his time. The lesson to learn is that there are only 200 sales days a year, you need to use them wisely.)

When you talk to people or see people engage on social media we all get that. Until that is we get to our desks and certainly our proposition is great, the competitors are all cheats and liars and of course our product or service is the best in the world …. and the Broadband salesperson I’m going to ram it down your throat until you either choke or buy it.

So when I read that a social Selling Guru’s Number one thing as part of their advice to other sales people was “add value”. I think this will actually lose people.

It seems (taking the above example) that telling me how useless your product is to me is adding value. Surely not?

I asked a question on LinkedIn a while back what was adding value and got some interesting remarks.  Most of them talked about helping, education our clients.  Giving them something they don’t have, just as insight.  Which I agree with.

Gary Vee calls it the 51 : 49 rule, which is the need to give more than take.  We are after all, looking to get customers and prospects “their time” and none of want to give it to somebody, or certainly won’t give it again to anybody that wasted our time before.

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