Mining the Iceberg

Although win-win seems to be a no-brainer as an idea, it is not so easy in practice. If we look at win-win as sharing a value between supplier and customer, then it is obvious that there at first must be some value to be shared at all. And if we talk about our ongoing customer relation, there probably is a state of contracts that both sides have signed, because they see an advantage, the value, for both sides.

So win-win refers to additional value that must be created on top of the existing. This is the point where things get complicated. During multiple sessions of contract negotiations, win-win constellations have mostly been moved around until exhaustion. There is nothing more to share.

In such a situation, a good sales person would use ‘gut feeling’ to dig further. In the absence of such a magic, we need a formalized, scalable way of digging deep. Customer Gardening is one an option to achieve this. One of the techniques to apply is the Mining the Iceberg Technique. It focusses on hidden values below the ‘surface’.

In most business cases, not all expectations of customers have been met by what they bought. And even if so, necessities, technologies, customers, have changed, and this has shifted expectations. The gap between expectations and experience will always be there. Moreover, if it ever disappears, it will re-appear in a different form the next day. Changing expectations may be seen as the entropy of experience, but they are at the same time a source of new value to create. And this is where we want to be, having something in our hands that we can share and that has not been shared before. Mining the iceberg for win-win, without being a penguin.

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