I think most of us can distinguish between cost and value. Buying something at a lower price improves the cost, but if the item breaks and needs to be replaced in a month, the value of what we bought at that lower price is quite low. Smart shoppers do that cost/value equation in their heads as they shop, which places the onus on us as businesspeople to provide superior value no matter what business we’re in.
How can we do that? It’s not just by lowering the price, although if what you’re selling is a commodity, the price differential becomes pretty important. To a certain extent, that’s something I deal with as a consultant. You might have noticed, there are a lot of us out here. What I need to do, when talking to potential clients, is to help them to understand why I’m worth the premium I charge when compared to many others out here. I do that by adding value in some of these ways:
- Understanding their perspective. I see my business through their eyes which means I must research them, ask a lot of questions, and then present myself in a way that is meaningful and valuable to them.
- Giving them something for nothing. Sometimes it’s just a series of articles I’ve found that are relevant to them but those articles demonstrate how part of my service to them is to help them stay informed and ahead of the competition.
- For existing clients, I’ll often do many of the “little” tasks that end us distracting my client from their main purpose. That can mean writing up brainstorming sessions, breaking our their web analytics, or updating their website. That helps them by reducing anxiety, by keeping them focused, and because I’m generally not as rushed and more experienced than they are, improves the quality of those lesser tasks.
Adding value needs to be as basic as breathing for any of us in business. The real challenge is in making the type of value you add correlate to the needs of each customer. How will you do that today?