We need to have a serious chat about something that’s going to be a central component and distinction in everything that we do in our business lives.
This is a concept that will literally change your results overnight if you embrace it in the correct way. It’s something that will move mountains if you understand and focus the armies of your mind on this quality.
VALUE: WHAT ARE YOU PRESENTING TO THE WORLD?
Yes, we’re going to talk about value and, more specifically, what it means to us and the people we do business with. Quality business.
Quality is what this is about. Once you understand this concept you can tweak everything that you do technique wise and view anything you do through the magnifying glass of this core distinction.
Without further ago, I want to introduce you to Value.
Reader, meet value…value, meet the reader. I hope you guys are already acquainted. If not, then we might have some work to do here.
And that’s fine.
The truth is, the majority of people have no idea about the concept of value. They don’t have any idea about their own value, let alone value as presented by others. If you aren’t aware of value, then you’re not alone.
But that’s about to change.
At the core of everything we do in our journey towards business success is the idea of value. Scratch that…at the core of everything we do in life is the idea of value.
Without value, something is inherently not worthy. With value, that thing is worthy, and being worthy is powerful.
The good thing about all this is that once you understand the concept of value, you can create and solidify your own by living an outstanding and successful life.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS BUSINESS VALUE?
Before we move on, let’s go the tried and tested route of new concept introduction by giving you a dictionary definition:
Dictionary.com declares value as:
relative worth, merit, or importance: the value of a college education; the value of a queen in chess.
The first attribute of value that we should be aware of is that it’s subjective. One person’s value is another persons…(non)value.
Put another way, “one person’s gold is another persons’s trash.” Value for one person might be indistinguishable to another person. Sometimes this is through ignorance, but it also makes the point about the subjective nature of value.
We’re all different people chasing different goals and dreams and looking for different things in different places. Value means a lot of different things for different people.
Another key attribute of value is that it’s everywhere. Everything is the world has an inherent value – whether it’s the new shirt you bought yesterday, the cable television package you have or the way that love interest at your work talks and laughs and walks.
Everything has value – some things just have more than others.
It’s important to note that concepts and ideas have value themselves. A thought or belief also has value. How much depends on the person, the intention and the reasoning behind it.
BUSINESS VALUE FAR BEYOND MONEY FIGURES
We see value particularly in business areas such as sales and marketing. When an offer is presented to a potential buyer, it’s up to them to decide on the worth (or value) that the product or service has to them.
Value extends far beyond mere concepts of cost (the price tag) and describes things like the time saved by having the product/service vs. not having it, the vale that the product/service adds to the potential customers overall quality of life, and even the money saved later on by having the product/service in the first place.
As you can see, value extends far beyond simple dollars in the arena of sales and marketing. Smart marketers know this. It’s why we see aftershaves and perfumes advertized on the feelings the product will give you rather than just price tag.
Indeed, premium products by companies like Apple are marketed on their value more than anything else. In fact, a lot of these companies make a point of mentioning how expensive their products are, because it increases perceived value.
ARE YOU YOUR OWN BRAND?
Now, I’m not going to stand here and tell you that you’re a product or service and spin out sales and marketing metaphors. As that sounds so cliche and reality TV-ish.
But you kind of are.
Maybe no one’s ever said this to you before, but it is true whether you want to admit it or not: you’re a product. Everything about you is packaged in some way.
People will buy into you before they buy into the service you’re offering. And that’s true whether you’re providing a video production service, or another form of filmmaking service, or just something else entirely.
Some people package themselves like cheap fast food meals (greasy, fleeting and ultimately bad for you), whilst others package themselves as the latest Apple product.
Enough. These metaphors could go on all day. Let’s get deep into the core of this.
Early on in the history of business, a concept emerged where business-people/sales-people would try and demonstrate their value. I’ve written about this concept before and said pretty much flat-out that it’s a slippery slope that won’t help you achieve your goals in the best way.
The people who adopted this concept of always needing to demonstrate their value decided that one of the reasons why they weren’t where they wanted to be in their businesses was because they weren’t seen as having as strong a Value as some of the bigger brands they saw (the Apples and Nikes of the world.)
Whilst this might seem reasonable at first glance, it’s very much flawed thinking. It’s crazy for Joe Blogg’s Video Productions to think that they need the kind of brand value of an Apple or Nike in order to be successful.
Desperately attempting to convey that kind of value just weakens their own brand – a brand which might offer an amazing local video production service.
These guys came from a place of unworthiness, so everything they thought and felt was reflected through that frame. It makes sense that demonstrating their value would be the order of the day, because these guys just didn’t see themselves as worthy in the first place.
IT ALL COMES DOWN TO POSITIONING
Positioning is basically the strategy you adopt to market and sell your product or service. The market you choose is a big part of Positioning.
We need to avoid the trap of trying to Position our services in a frame they shouldn’t be in.
Instead of demonstrating, we need to be. When you become a business of Value (and everything you think, feel and believe about yourself is in-line and congruent with that), then great things happen. When I interact with a potential client, I don’t have to use mind games or tactics to win business.
Instead, I go in knowing that my value is already high. No demonstration needed. No neediness in closing the deal and certainly no outcome dependence.
SO HOW DO WE POSITION OURSELVES AS BUSINESSES OF VALUE?
In order to answer this, we need to explore the concept of social value, a particular form of value that relates specifically to our standing in society, or even more specifically, how we’re perceived when we’re interacting with potential clients, business contacts and people within our industry.
This is sometimes known as status and it has many forms depending on the culture and country you’re from, as well as specific ones based on a particular situation. But, for us, we’ll look at status and value from the position of a predomintenly developed, urbanized culture.
Social Value can be anything that one person provides to another that improves their lives in some way. That sounds incredibly open-ended and it’s meant to be.
If you were reading a business or sales book 30 years ago, you’d most likely read something about how “rejection is part of the sales process” and how everything is a numbers game – that we must get rejected a number of times in person before making a sale.
That’s all out.
No, true value is already demonstrated before the meeting with a client. As we mentioned above, you shouldn’t be demonstrating your value to a potential client in an Initial Meeting – it should have already been demonstrated before they meet you. Your business comes pre-sold, so that they’re ready to buy when they meet you.
This is the way I do it, and it’s the way I teach people to do it.
If you’re a knowledgeable and experienced person in your craft, then you’re offering value to any potential client that you interact with, no matter what the level of interaction – whether it be chatting politely over coffee, or right up to a full blown meeting with CEOs present.
You’re offering value by being a person with a solution and someone who has the knowledge and expertize to solve the potential client’s problem.
If I told you to go out to the beach right now and build a sandcastle that will resist the waves, what would go through your head?
First of all, you might think I was crazy for suggesting you should re-enact your childhood.
But once you got past that, those resourceful and competitive among you, would probably try to build the best sandcastle you could by building strong walls and a solid foundation to keep the waves out.
Sure, we all know that eventually the waves will be victorious and the sand will be forced to relinquish it’s temporary hold on structure. But by building our sandcastle and making it the best darn sandcastle on the beach, we’ve achieved something.
Now, before this strays too far into the philosophical, and I realize the whole waves ultimately destroying the sandcastle thing is a bit of a downer, but don’t take the metaphor too seriously.
THE TRUTH ABOUT VALUE
I should also mention that value is imperfect.
Whilst it communicates positivity for the most part, it can sometimes compel us to do things that are irrational or against our better judgment. Value can trigger good emotions, bad emotions and everything in-between.
As way of an example, take the gambling addict: he sees great value in bets that he makes, but the value is ultimately flawed and tainted. It’s not true value and it soon reveals itself to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, whilst he falls further into addiction chasing the next straight.
As I mentioned earlier, value is subjective. Everything that we perceive is a subjective interpretation of the truth. Be sure that what you see as value is real value, and not the kind of “value” that you need to use rationalizations to justify later on.
SOCIAL VALUE IS A BIG KEY TO BUILDING AN AWESOME BUSINESS
With that said, above all you need to know that social value is a key factor in building an awesome business.
Here are some ideas on using social value to build an awesome business:
– Your social network. These days, when we talk about social networks, we have to make a distinction between your in-person network and your online network. Still, for most good businesses, these two are pretty much entwined.
The people you know and hang out with are massively important to the perception of your business value. They form your network – the people you can trade advice with, ask for recommendations and, ultimately, the people who will help you out with business stuff.
Remember the old saying about how you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. You can choose your network, too.
– What you do. No, I’m not just talking about what your business offers. That is a small part of the overall picture. For the purposes of social value, I’m talking about what you do. What you do is what you do.
- Do you like sports? Do you play them?
- How about hobbies? Are you passionate about fast cars or maybe stamps?
- How do you relax at night? Is it a glass of wine at home or shots with your friends?
- Are you a part of any communities or clubs? What sort of clubs? Do they further your endevours and goals?
- Where do you vacation/holiday? Do you go abroad or stay within your home country? What sort of trips do you go on? Sun sea and sand, or are you more of a museums and walking around old ruins guy? Where would you go if money wasn’t an object?
- What are your dreams, goals and aspirations?
These are all valid questions and great for sparking the inspiration juices. There are also no right answers. It’s important to know what you do, as well as what you want to do.
Value is communicated in what we do and it lets others catch a glimpse of what kind of people we are.
Look at it like this: who would you rather meet on a night out – someone who sits at home all day watching re-runs of CSI and only thinks about where the next takeaway food is coming from, or someone who is out there explorering, travelling 6 times a year, whilst running a film company that helps inner city kids tell their stories on camera?
– The more superficial forms of value. Yes, we also need to cover the more superficial types of value that people to respond to. Superficial forms of social value might be the clothes you wear, your looks, the shape you’re in, etc. The good news is, we can work on all of these things and improve ourselves.
Yeah, I totall agree that it’s pretty shallow to focus too much on these things, but I’d be a liar if I ignored those superficial traits in the social value stakes. They’re not the be-all, end-all that some people make them out to be, but they certainly are a contributing factor.
And why wouldn’t you want to use everything that you can to give yourself more social value if it involves improving your business big time?
Here’s the thing: clothes and looks shouldn’t matter, but if you’re buying a house and the real estate agent shows up dressed like he’s homeless, with an unkept appearance and food down his chin, you’re not going to want to buy a house from him.
– Your personality. Yes, we come to the most important way to build social value. Your personality and mindset are one of your most important qualities in developing a social value, because they’re the things you use most often in social interactions.
Your personality is what will make people want to work with your again. Or not work with you again, in some cases. Sure, you can’t please everyone, but you can choose to be the best you you can be in all your business interactions.
Become the kind of person you want to meet and do business with, and you can’t go far wrong.
We’ve spoken before about using people’s names even if you don’t know them very well, about developing a great sense of humor in business, and lots about the best mindsets to approach running a business.
A confident person, who knows what they wants, yet has a great sense of humor and doesn’t take themselves too seriously, whilst being knowledgeable and easy to be around is putting themselves in the best position to reap the rewards of social value.
As with everything on the topic of value, we’ll be coming back to this more and more in different posts. You’ll see that value is applicable in everything we think, say and do in our businesses.
Thanks for reading!