The Background of Value Forward Method
For fifteen years I have been writing articles for High Tech Success advising on the Value Forward Sales and Marketing techniques. As the senior management consulting partner in our firm, I am often asked how the Value Forward method came about.
It started in 1983, when I began my sales career working for a Canadian-based technology company called Remanco Systems. We sold very high priced ($100K+ in 1983) computerized software and hardware systems (Point of Sale) to restaurants. My company was a venture capital funded company that was lead by a management team from Digital and I was the first direct salesperson they hired in the U.S.
Daily, I competed against more established and better funded companies including IBM, NCR, and Micros Systems. In 1983, my sales quota was $1 million. As I launched my career, I was given no sales leads, little sales training and even less corporate marketing support — but like most sales professionals, I had a sales quota… and a boss.
When I was hired, I was not experienced enough to know the right questions to ask during my pre-employment interview and my boss didn’t tell me. (Has this ever happened to you?) I soon discovered that restaurant owners hated computers, that our point of sale system was 100% more money than NCR’s, and restaurant owners do not like too many automated controls because it tracks revenue and that helps the government calculate their taxes.
After working for 30 days in our Boston office, I was transferred to Hartford, Connecticut to open a new sales office. So I put my house in Boston up for sale, moved into an ugly condo in Hartford and tried to sell my Boston home. For two months, my boss called weekly for my “updated” sales forecast, but I sold nothing. Every day, I would jump into my car and cold call restaurant owners (restaurant people don’t read their mail or talk business on the phone) location by location.
Yet… no one bought.
I was doing something wrong.
Like IBM, NCR and Micros Systems, I would walk into each restaurant location and communicate my brand value first by saying “Hi, my name is Paul DiModica and I work for Remanco Systems and we are a computer company that works with restaurant owners.”
I fell deeper and deeper behind in my sales quota and started to worry about the mortgage payments on my Boston house which had not sold. So, I called my boss and said I needed to take a week off to decide if sales was the right career path for me. After a few days I stopped feeling sorry for myself and decided to ask my prospects (restaurant owners) why they were not buying, since they were spending $50,000-$100,000 on walk-in freezers and not on my computer system. What I discovered was that they did not care about me — they only cared about themselves and their needs. They told me computers had no value to them so why spend the money.
That was the light that turned on the Value Forward concepts. So I started to think through what my sales pitch was and why it did not work. I came up with three questions that were never really answered for me up to that point… and needed to be answered.
- Why will prospects buy from me?
- Why will they not buy from me?
- How do I create value they believe?
Based on my new understanding of this model, I thought through these questions and stopped describing what I sold. Instead, I focused on describing the results my Point of Sale systems delivered. The first change in my sales presentation was that I dropped my brand selling approach and created a sales proposition that described how my offering helped the restaurant owner. So, when cold calling independent restaurant owners building by building, I would introduce myself by saying my name is Paul and my firm and I are “Restaurant Profitability Improvement Specialists.” Immediately, they listened and asked how I could help them.
… and then I started selling.
In fact, from that day forward, I sold $1.5 million my first year and NEVER lost again to IBM, NCR or Micros Systems . . . even when I was 100% more money.
When I sold Aetna Insurance, I described my value as an Employee Satisfaction Improvement Specialist.
When I sold Foxwoods Casino, I described my value as a Casino Player Card Retention Management Specialist.
When I sold Hershey Theme Parks, I described my value as a Multiple Profit Center Management Specialist.
The Value Forward Method worked over and over again… with any industry.
So, as my career progressed and I changed companies, I kept refining the Value Forward Sales approach looking at all the steps in the sales cycle including how to give presentations, how to negotiate with management, how to write proposals, how to sell key accounts and many other areas. Additionally, I started developing the Value Forward Marketing approach as well. When I become a Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, a VP of Strategy and COO/Company founder in different private and public companies, I started teaching this method to my teams and found that when deployed correctly, we increased revenue.
So, here I am — 30 years later.
This newsletter is read by executives worldwide every week in over 110 countries. Each week, I get a large influx of inbound emails from around the world commenting on the week’s content. Here is what I receive:
- 95% tell me my suggestions are right on.
- 4% tell me I don’t know what I am talking about.
- 1% ask me for money.
If you like this newsletter and think the Value Forward Sales techniques we describe weekly are relevant to you, then you should consider the following foundation concepts:
Three Tenets of Value Forward Strategies
- Value first, brand second.
- Integrate strategy, marketing and sales into one outbound revenue capture program.
- Revenue capture is a company responsibility, not just the sales team’s responsibility.
During the last eleven years, we have trained tens of thousands of salespeople and consulted on marketing and sales strategies with over 500 companies in multiple industries using the Value Forward techniques.
Now, you know the history of the Value Forward approach. Follow the above 3 tenets… and increase your revenue.