Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner, and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing, seven minutes at a time.

I was reading a great sales book by Erik Peterson, Three Value Conversations: how to create and elevate and capture customer value at every stage of the long lead sale. Ok, the subtitle is very long. Just remember the name of the book is Three Value Conversations.

One thing that struck me is the idea of finding the unexpected needs of your customers. Erik noted that sales reps are trained and conditioned to be problem-solver for their customers. That’s good, but he argues that sales are solving the problems that customers already know. Because it’s addressing known problems, buyers control the conversations. In a way, sales reps are putting themselves in what he calls the “Commodity Box.”

Peterson suggested turning that conversation around. To do that, sales reps need to change their roles. It’s not about solving a known problem, but rather the value-add comes from finding a problem not understood by the customer. So be a problem finder, not just a problem solver. Buyers don’t know what they don’t know. Here is a statement from the book: “The premium is your ability to tell buyers something they didn’t know about a problem or of a missed opportunity that they didn’t’ even know they had.” Find problems they don’t know and turn the table around to address the needs that buyers are not even considering. He calls that “unconsidered needs.” And he categorizes “unconsidered needs” into three categories:

  • Undervalued needs:
  • Unmet needs:
  • Unknown needs:

If you are selling a cybersecurity product, one example of an undervalued need is to call out specific compliance or regulations that your customer has overlooked.

An example of an unmet when a customer has become accustomed to a workaround and no longer even looks for a better way to do something.

And unknown need might be to automate a process for applying security patches instead of manually applying them when a system administrator is available.

To unravel these needs, you need to understand the customer’s workflow and tech stacks well. It’s easy to be a problem solver, but it requires a lot of work to be a problem finder.

Although this book is about selling, I thought this concept of discovering unconsidered needs also applies to marketers or me. Can we identify not only the existing pain points and challenges of our customers, but also help them to look at the areas that they usually overlook. At the end of the day, it comes back to “know your customers well.”

BTW, I don’t know the author, Erik Peterson, but I really enjoyed this book, the Three Value Conversations. Check it out on Amazon. Let me know what you think.

Now, back to my writing.

Send me your marketing questions via Twitter @pamdidner

Be well. Until next time.

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