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Article -> Identifying Value with Potential Clients

Date Added: February 2012

Note: This article appeared in the Feb. 1, 2012 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Organizations invest much time on targeting potential clients. Demographic selection is the traditional method; although values should be a key component.

Demographics relate to organization size, geography, industry, gender, age range, etc. Values pertain to the client’s personality you choose to conduct business with. Why have a client not fitting with your organization's values? This becomes dicey when choosing between an organization and individual (i.e. which is actually your client?).

This is where demographics and values intersect. An organization is targeted based on demographics and possibly organizational values; however, what if the individual contact people don’t represent the values?

An organization was targeting a prospect with similar values. The prospect's organizational values were based on the CEO's personal values. The salesperson and CEO "clicked;" yet the CEO put the salesperson in contact with a new employee to handle negotiations. Unfortunately, the new person did not exude the values, nor did he "click" with the salesperson. Is this still a good prospect?

The salesperson's initial response was this is no longer a viable client because he wouldn't want to do business with the new person and didn't feel this person was a values fit; even though the CEO and organizational values were a good match.

This is a difficult situation. On one hand, it is clear the CEO hired the wrong individual – someone not fitting with the prospect’s values. On the other hand, it's difficult for the salesperson to discuss this situation with the CEO as it may appear as "sour grapes."

The organization chose to honor its values and those of the CEO/prospect by letting the CEO know they may not do business together. His intent was to communicate as a friend, so not doing business together was okay. He also explained his experience with the new person not exhibiting the organization's core values because he felt the CEO would want this honest feedback.

The outcome has yet to be determined. Regardless, the salesperson and CEO remain friends and the salesperson's organization stayed true to its values. How often do we forget our personal values for revenue?

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