Too often, we confuse our experience with creating value. While they are linked, they are distinctly different.

Our experience focuses on us–perhaps reference customers that we have worked with in the past. “We’ve worked with Google, Microsoft, Siemens, General Motors…” These are supposed to demonstrate our customer base, implying we’ve done great things with them, and perhaps, to generate credibility as we speak with customers (if they are relevant references).

We may talk about our deep experience and expertise in certain industries or solving specific problems. These are important, they help our customer understand our capabilities and whether we might be helpful to them in addressing their challenges.

But we can’t confuse these experiences with our value.

Our value is always unique and specific to the customer. It’s based on what we can help them achieve, for example growing sales by 20%. Problems we can help them solve, for example, reducing customer attrition by 15% or reducing costs by 7%.

Our value may be the value we create in helping the customer in their buying process. The specific things we do to facilitate the customer in their buying journey. Or perhaps the things we do to help customers make sense of what’s happening around them.

Both experience and value are important to the customer. The experience may get the customer interested in considering us. Additionally, our experience contributes to our abilities to create value. But our value is squarely focused on them and, specifically, how we can help them.

It’s important to understand the distinction and to know, our success is ultimately based on the ability to create differentiated value with the customer.

*This title was inspired by an article by the same title in Forbes. While it is on improving your job search/interview skills, it’s an interesting article.

SOURCEPartners in Excellence
Dave Brock
Dave Brock is the founder of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a consulting and services company helping to improve the effectiveness of business professionals with strategy development, organizational planning, and implementation. Dave has spent his career working for and with high performance organizations, ranging from the Fortune 25 to startups, including companies such as IBM, HP, Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft, General Electric, and many, many more. The work Dave does with business strategies is closely tied to personal effectiveness of the people in the organization. As a result, Dave is deeply involved in the development of a number of training and coaching programs.