Creating Remote Value in Sales

Creating Value Remotely

By Michael Smith, Bennion Kearny author and Vice President of Global Marketing at Align Technology.

The Touch System

To win time with customers, we need to find a way to stand out from the competition. Rather than asking for an appointment or meeting, the key is to give something instead; something of value so that you begin to become significant in your (potential) customer’s mind.

In 2011, Google commissioned a piece of research into how customers make buying decisions and coined the term, ‘Zero Moment of Truth’. The Zero Moment of Truth refers to the period between a stimulus and the customer making a decision to buy. Based on the research, they found that, on average, customers needed 10.4 interactions before making a purchase decision.

From a sales perspective, we refer to these interactions as ‘touches’ – and so we’re aiming to develop a system that allows 11 interactions over a three-to-six month period. This is known as a Touch System.

A Touch System is a way to break down the value you will give to a key customer into a series of planned interactions. The plan needs to include two elements – the activity, and the communication route.

These activities that create value could be varied but should be significant. Articles or summaries of articles of interest, industry publications, legislation, guidance, benchmarking, testimonials, or educational invites, to name but a few. Communication routes could be post, face-to-face, email, phone, message, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on.

A clinical business manager recently said, ‘I don’t usually give time to industry representatives, but I am willing to. The reason I would give a sales person time would be if I thought they could help me to achieve my goals or objectives. So I’d be looking for them to begin engaging with me – perhaps sending me information that is relevant to my market, organisation, or role, or identifying things that they thought I’d be interested in. I wouldn’t meet someone because of the product they sold but because of the help they could bring.’

This is an incredibly powerful approach, and it requires us to:

  1. Select activity that creates value and which positions the sales professional as the Credible Expert
  2. Develop a series of 11 touches
  3. Plan to deliver regular and consistent value over a three- to-six month period
  4. Vary the communication route

In doing so, you position yourself away from the rest of the competition as someone who gives value first before asking for a meeting, appointment, or sale. You begin to position yourself as the Credible Expert.

90 Ways To Create Value

In order to get you started on your journey of value, significance and ‘adjusted reciprocity’, I’m going to provide you with a list of 90 ways in which you can add value to others every day. Why 90 ways? We talked in the previous chapter of the power of 90-day goals as an ideal time frame for taking action: long enough to see an impact; not so long that you can’t change course after those 90 days if required. So, if the challenge is to make a difference over the next 90 days, you have 90 ways in which to do that and one of the actions can be to do something for someone else that adds value every day.

The options as to how you do this are endless. Here are 90 and there are countless more in your mind waiting to be unlocked. With the multitude of communication channels now available it’s so easy for you to reach out to people. It wasn’t so long ago that your options were limited to telephone, mail, a face-to-face visit or fax. Now you have email, SMS, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, Instagram, WhatsApp; you can send them MP3s, MP4s, links to sites, podcasts and so much more. There are so many ways to connect. They key is using them and in a way which adds value. And if you really want to do some- thing different you could always send a postcard, a letter or a fax!

Some of these ideas may resonate with you more than others. That’s ok. Some may apply more to your personal life than professional life or vice versa. That’s ok too. Their absolute applicability isn’t what’s key here. What is important is that you find your own ways in which to add value and significance to others. This list is my list and I hope it provides you with some inspiration and ideas of your own. The challenge is to create it and then live it out as best you can.

  1. Acknowledge someone’s accomplishments or achievements
  2. Support someone in what they are doing
  3. Offer to be available to someone when they need you
  4. Challenge someone to be all that they can be
  5. Assist someone without doing it for them
  6. Motivate someone to teach others what they know
  7. Let someone know how much they are appreciated
  8. Give someone the credit they deserve
  9. Help someone get clarity on their vision or long-term goal
  10. Help someone to reach a goal
  11. Help someone define actions required to achieve their goal
  12. Share your own knowledge and understanding with someone
  13. Share your own experiences with someone or share someone else’s
  14. Provide an additional or alternative perspective to someone
  15. Actively listen to someone
  16. Befriend someone regardless of their position or social status
  17. Make someone laugh
  18. Strive to really get to know someone
  19. Teach someone a skill they do not have
  20. Compliment someone just because you can
  21. Compliment a person about something specific in front of another person
  22. Ask someone a question about what interests them
  23. Remember people’s names
  24. Remember people’s anniversaries, and special occasions
  25. Strive to be the first to help a person you know in need
  26. Help people focus on their strengths
  27. Help people in managing or negating their weaknesses
  28. Find out what kinds of hobbies people have and send them articles, links, or ideas on the subject
  29. Smile at people and smile when you talk
  30. Say ‘hello’ to people when you walk by them
  31. Express gratitude for the ways that people specifically add value to your life
  32. Say ‘please’
  33. Say ‘thank you’
  34. When you learn something new, pass that information on to someone else
  35. When someone asks for your help, do more than expected – go the extra mile
  36. If you are attending an online event, invite someone else from your network  
  37. Pay for someone’s lunch or dinner
  38. Connect people who you think can benefit from each other
  39. Offer to act as a sounding board to someone
  40. Ask, ‘Is there anything I can do to help you?’
  41. Always bring something to the table – an opinion or idea
  42. Highlight relevant opportunities
  43. Share your knowledge with others. Don’t keep your best ideas and strategies to yourself
  44. Be honest with people – give them constructive feedback
  45. Be open with someone about your shortcomings – you will make them feel more comfortable to share their own
  46. ‘Catch’ somebody doing something right and recognize them for it
  47. Help people find their niche or ‘calling’ in life
  48. Encourage others
  49. Refer business leads to others
  50. Tell someone that you don’t know something they do, and let them teach you
  51. Hold others accountable to their commitments
  52. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
  53. Challenge people and support their decision-making
  54. Push people’s comfort zones
  55. When someone fails, encourage them to try again
  56. Update someone on the latest industry trends
  57. Update someone on the latest news
  58. Update someone with articles related to their field of interest
  59. Send links to videos or blogs
  60. Update people on the latest product news
  61. Update people on the latest promotions or offers
  62. Offer someone a referral
  63. Provide someone with networking opportunities
  64. Provide information about a congress or education event
  65. Give someone the opportunity to meet a key opinion leader or thought leader
  66. Make yourself available to others
  67. Send someone a postcard
  68. Send them a birthday card
  69. Just make them happier
  70. Find a way to make a task easier for them
  71. Send them interesting or relevant quotes
  72. Help them make use of new technology
  73. Share with them the latest relevant digital applications
  74. Help others articulate their message or story
  75. Help others to think more strategically
  76. Use a story to help communicate a message
  77. Translate or simplify complex information
  78. Tell someone what others in a similar position have done
  79. Offer to do something free of charge
  80. Give a guarantee (for example, a money back guarantee)
  81. Provide free education relevant to their interest
  82. Write a blog
  83. Give someone a book you think they’d like
  84. Post comments on someone else’s blog
  85. Organize an online event
  86. Recommend someone
  87. Send an unexpected gift
  88. Help remove barriers or obstacles, perceived or real
  89. Provide a reference for someone
  90. Write someone a testimonial