The Value Proposing Professional

In this chapter we will look at:

  • • Understanding your personal value
  • • Understanding pre-emptive value judgements
  • • Understanding the value of reading customer context
  • • Understanding meaningful value dialogue
  • • Understanding the value of being relevant
  • • The arts of the value-proposing professional

You Create Value Too

This isn’t just some self-help affirmation to make you feel good about yourself. Our in depth qualitative research study of fifty senior key sales and marketing professionals shows that your social abilities are central to the application of value-ology and the process of unlocking and creating customer value. Studies have shown that we make value judgements about other people in a matter of seconds. This means that we can’t always rely on customers to make an entirely objective assessment of our value proposition.

Most of us tend to take our social skills for granted. Human beings are social animals and we hone our social skills from an early age. Things such as our ability to make people feel at ease in our presence, our ability to respect others, our ability to anticipate how people feel and even how we know what to say and what not to say in certain situations.

© The Author(s) 2017 S. Kelly et al., Value-ology,

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-45626-3_3

All of these things create an impression on other people, and we devote much of our social lives to presenting an impression of ourselves that we hope other people will value and respect. Creating the right impression is an essential social competence that lies at the heart of value-ology. Back in 1977 Lynn Shostack, philanthropist, writer and former vice-president of Citibank, emphasised in her article ‘Breaking free from product marketing’ the crucial role people play in creating value, when she observed that ‘services are often inextricably entwined with their human representatives. In many fields, a person is perceived to be the service.’

Social competence adds real value to the skills of sales management, decision-making and sales psychology we might already possess. In the majority of sales and marketing text books the social competence of sales professionals is glossed over or simply missing. Of course reference is often made to the need for the sales professional to establish rapport, be a good listener, show empathy and be emotionally intelligent.1 More specialised popular psychology books describe the way our minds work and explain techniques for coping with anxiety, anger and rejection,[1] [2] understanding the mindsets of others,[3] and how to communicate, influence and persuade.[4] However, there is a huge gap in explaining what goes on when sales professionals go through the act of proposing value to their customers. This is the world of supplier-customer social interactions. How salespeople actually perform in the presence of others belongs to what we call the missing middle of our understanding of sales and marketing management. It is the world of the value-proposing professional.

  • • Sales process management and customer decision-making
  • - The missing middle—supplier-customer social interactions
  • • Psychological techniques of selling

In the following sections we will explain exactly what is going on in the missing middle and what sales professionals need to do to become true value- proposing professionals.

  • [1] Emotional intelligence is the idea of Daniel Goleman, who identified a range of socio-psychologicalattributes of people who were good at relating to others.
  • [2] The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters is an excellent book that explains how our brains work for and againstus in high performance situations.
  • [3] Mindset by Carol S. Dweck explains how each of us frames the world differently in our minds.
  • [4] These include techniques such as neuro-linguistic programming and Bob Cialdini’s principles of socialinfluence and persuasion.
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