I’d like to talk about value. I just found a definition for it on Merriam-Webster online (since everything on the internet is true…) as follows:
“the amount of money that something is worth : the price or cost of something”
Now, here is the thing we, as business owners, especially when we are at earlier stages in our business, tend to add on at the end of that sentence: “to me”. So, we offer products and services that we want other people to buy, and we believe they are of value to them, because they are of value to us.
Did your bullshit detector just go nuts on you? Yeah, me, too. Let me tell you a story to illustrate why the “to me” piece has a very negative impact on what you market and sell, and why you must, instead, figure out the “to YOU” portion of that sentence.
For Passover/Easter, I flew down to Florida to see my mom and stepdad. As you can imagine, the flights were oversold, and lots of us were lined up by the gate when boarding time neared. Then came the announcement, “This flight is oversold, and we are looking for 5 volunteers to take another flight. In return, we’re offering $400 travel vouchers, or American Express gift cards.”
OK, so, they gave us options on how to receive $400- YES, that shows some value. But, I figured the price offer would increase. Sure enough, it went up to $800 within minutes. (Never ever take that first offer!) And, as soon as the only alternative flight option was a connecting flight, and more time, the offer went up to $900.
That’s $900, and we could have it as American Express gift cards! That could pay a cable bill, rent, a new pair of shoes…..but here’s the problem. Money does not buy time. My thought was,
“I don’t care how much you pay me, you can’t make up for the hours of time I would lose with my mom.“
Time with my mother was MY value point, and they didn’t get it. Since I didn’t feel “heard and understood” I didn’t go for the offer. It may have cost me money, but I didn’t care, since that was not my value point.
Now, head over to your business. Every time you try to write a book, develop a program, or create a product that’s “because I want to make money”, “because I need more time”, “because I have expertise that I think is valuable” etc – see how that is YOUR value point. You may be correct when you assume people want something you have to offer in a product or program, but when your primary motivation to create it is about “YOUR” needs, it’s often a recipe for nobody buying your product. (Of COURSE if you can prove lots of other people have the same need or problem as you do, different story!) BUT, if you design a service or product around “THEIR” need for more time, less stress, or if you can find me more time with my mother, NOW you’ve begun to tap into something people find valuable, and you’ll have our ear, and, likely, some of our cash.
So, how do you do create products and programs your customers want to buy? Here are a few ideas:
- Think back over the past year and all the clients you’ve had. Make a list of the top 5 problems/complaints/struggles every one of them had in common when they first started working with you.
- Figure out how you solve those problems – what are the things you did that got your clients to be more efficient and happier, etc?
- Write down the result for your clients of moving “from hardship to happiness” (insert your statement) – THAT is most likely the value
- ASK your clients to take a moment and verify whether your value statement is correct, and whether they would find it helpful if you had a book, program, etc to handle these problems? Ask them WHAT ELSE they might want
- Go create!
Hi Heather, really good stuff here. One valuable lesson I learned working in Customer Service – let the Customer tell you what they want – in as much detail as possible. Ask questions to hone in on their needs/wants. DO NOT assume anything. Use your listening skills! In the long run this will typically save time (money) and frustration (result satisfaction).
Yep – listening is so key! Thanks, as always, for your comments Kevin!