There's Value in Selling Value
As the CEO of an advertising, marketing and training agency, I've come to understand the importance in selling your value. Selling your value often takes more thought and time than just figuring out how many hours it will take to perform a task, putting together an estimate and selling the price to a customer. But it's creativity, expertise and knowledge that are really your greatest assets and differentiators. It's those that you should be selling, not price. After all, if it's price alone that you’re selling, chances are there's someone else out there who can do it for cheaper.
To sell your value, you first have to determine what is your value. Your answer may change, depending on your customer and what you’re working on. What do you bring beyond the nuts and bolts of fulfilling the specific tasks of a project? Do you have valuable industry experience that puts you and your customer ahead of the game? Do you have past success with other similar projects that you can tout?
You can also uncover value by identifying all the things you normally do that your customer may not realize. Do you take special measures to ensure your work is error-free? Do you have creative strategy sessions with the top-level thinkers in the company? If your team is quick to respond to requests or questions, make sure your customers know they’re doing business with a team they won’t have to track down or wait days on end to hear back from. Believe it or not, this kind of reassurance can make all the difference.
Think about the nicest restaurant you’ve ever been to. What makes it so special? The food? The ambiance? The people who work there? It’s likely not just one thing. You’re probably not going to open the menu and see a dry, factual list of the different steak sizes and what each one costs. Likely there will be a description of how it’s prepared and what comes with it, leaving your taste buds watering. The wait staff might be more attentive than your run-of-the-mill big chain restaurant. The décor is probably interesting, warm and inviting. When it all comes together, you’re presented with more than just some food on a plate and a check at the end; it’s an entire experience and the best restaurants use all those elements to convey the value of the experience they’re providing. And you’re happy to pay for more than the cost of the food, but the entire experience as well.
Determining your value can be challenging, but once you figure it out, it’s important to make sure everyone understands it and knows how to articulate it to others. The more those around you understand the value you bring as a company, the more likely they’ll be to confidently communicate it.
All of this also applies to selling your value as a person. You might feel like your supervisor should have noticed that you put in extra time on a project, or that you came up with a new way to do something that will save your business time and money, or that you created a new idea for a client and made them even more loyal to your company. But reality is that as fast as the world runs these days, you shouldn’t expect that everything you do is going to get the attention it deserves. So what’s the answer? Sell your value. Make sure others know that you went the extra mile on a particular project. Or tell your customer when you did something extra on a project that added value.
In the end, if a customer is only concerned with the lowest price, chances are they’re not going to be the kind of person you want to do business with. They’ll be hard to satisfy and you can forget about loyalty and building a relationship. If the lowest price is all they’re after, what’s to prevent them from going with the company down the road if they’re a few dollars cheaper? Absolutely nothing. Invest your time in selling value to people who appreciate the value you bring and see beyond the dollar signs. It’s more inspiring to work with those who see your value, and in turn, you’ll be more likely to work even harder and add even more value to that project and customer.