Exploring Value Drivers – The Unseen Opportunity

Published on March 22, 2016

Value over price. How and when does that happen?

This is another post to explore how top performers achieve significantly greater success. To prepare these posts I have drawn on Neil Rackham’s research into the attributes of world class salespeople.

Through truly insightful client centric conversations (the ones where the client walked away saying “that was amazing”), world class sales people are able to help the client develop a new or different perspective. Neil Rackham’s team identified four value drivers. This one is the Unseen Opportunity.

“Business executives are paid to produce the outcomes that are desirable, but not inevitable”

Some may say that executives are paid to solve problems, but this isn’t as relevant to creating value through new opportunities. Two of the other Value Drivers I have described, Unrecognised Problem and Unanticipated Solution differ from the Unseen Opportunity because they start in the context of a problem (unseen by the customer).

Salesperson V Innovator. In this case, we are considering how the customer’s capabilities, strengths etc. can be applied differently to their (or other) markets.


Value creation in recognising Unseen Opportunities occurs when you discover the intersection of your own capability with the customer’s untapped capability.

It may be presented altruistically, i.e. you highlight the opportunity without any direct benefit. Ideally, you will help the customer achieve success through the unseen opportunity so it’s genuinely Win/Win.

But how do you surface an Unseen Opportunity?

Sometimes it comes naturally, you just see it (even though the customer has not. In other times unseen opportunities are created through effective dialogue, the intersection of questioning skills, industry knowledge and business acumen elevates the dialogue between you and the customer and leads to value creation