I recently purchased a new vehicle. Although I did not expect a great experience, I did expect more from the organizations I have worked with in the past. Each dealer kept telling me they would give me more value for my money. I finally got so tired of hearing it; I asked them to clearly quantify “Value” for me.
As expected – all I got was silence.
As they scrambled to answer my question, they told me “well, there are fancy rims; we will throw in heated seats; this one has a nice looking radio (which it was not)!”
That’s Value? Maybe in their eyes! Not one of the dealers bothered asking me what value meant to me.
To really understand customer value, you need to understand what your specific customer is trying to accomplish with your product or service. More than likely, it is not the same for each client.
If I am buying a car to provide inexpensive transportation and from work, then fuel efficiency and maintenance costs should be addressed first to provide me value. If I am buying a luxury car, to look great and be extremely safe for my family, then a 5 star airbag system and sporty rims may be adding more value to me.
The term, “Value” does have dollar implications. Dictionary definitions use words such as worth, importance, usefulness, fair market price while describing value. We often hear people say, “For the price this one offers more value.” The mistake is assuming all features apply to all people.
If you work for a technology service business like I do, providing real value is key and at times difficult to identify or quantify. Here are three tips to consider when discussing value with your clients:
- Ask the client how they will measure value. You can and should help them with this, but they need to formulate and express their opinions of value
- Use real numbers when possible. For example: Our solution will save you time. We have all heard that before, right? If you get the customers agreement on what they will do with that saved time, now you are starting to add value. Those 5 hours per week of saved time may drive X% more revenue, increase job satisfaction by X%, etc.
- Follow up. This is probably the most important thing you can do to guarantee a long term client.
Work through the agreed upon value measurements and see if they are getting the value they anticipated. It may be out of your control or it may be fixable, either way, you have demonstrated to your client you care by following up with them. You can use this information as tools for improvement for yourself, your services, and your company.
NEVER Assume value. Just like the car salesperson that thought fancy rims would give me more value...that car is still on the lot.
We have found these three tips to be extremely helpful in the technology industry and hope they benefit your industry as well.
Your turn: How have you demonstrated value with a customer recently?