Through our WProsper focus, one thing we’ve heard over and over and over again is that you want to find better clients.
They’re too cheap.
They’re tough to work with.
They have unrealistic expectations and demands.
They undervalue or devalue your work.
And at the core, you want to find clients who HIGHLY VALUE what you do for them instead.
Because those types of clients won’t be worried about money as much because they value what you do for them and the results they get from you.
So as I’ve been contemplating how to help you work through that, I’ve also been doing this for ourselves here at iThemes. (I would do the WProsper focus all over again, simply for what we’re gleaning from it.)
So today, let’s work through value, what it’s about, how we assign value (good or bad), and what to do with all this to better connect what you do with your clients. (Or get better ones.)
What Is Value All About?
The first thing this makes me ask is: What is value?
So I started with the actual definition of value as I like to be reminded of what things really mean and their origins:
Value is “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”
And that led me to get the definitions for Importance and Worth:
Importance is “the state or fact of being of great significance or value.”
Worth is “the value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration.”
What Do I Value?
Next, I asked: What is value to me?
Value for me comes in a lot of different ways. I realize I value things that I hold dear and I treasure most.
So I asked: What do I hold dear? What do I treasure?
In other words: What are my VALUABLES?
Here’s my list of valuables:
- People: My wife, my children, my family, my team, my friends, my customers
- Impact / Meaning / Purpose
- Physical Property
You might have heard we value most the things that …
- Makes us money
- Makes us look better/good (status)
- Makes us feel better/good
- Saves us money
- Saves us time
- Saves us energy
- Saves us hassle
- Relieves irritation/frustration
- Protects us
- Gives us peace of mind
- Educates us
- Entertains us
- Gives us access
- Gives us belonging
- Gives us affirmation
And I pay for things that do all of the above, and often a lot of money for them.
How Do We Value Value?
So I want to know what is the difference between good and bad value, great and terrible value?
So I asked: What’s the best value I’ve ever gotten?
I thought about the best things I’ve acquired in life and started listing the very best ones. And I asked myself: How did I feel? Why were these great deals to me?
My answers were these questions were interesting to me (because I had never taken the time to think about them in this way):
1. Elated. Extremely satisfied, almost to the point of feeling guilty. And that my expectations were met and actually exceeded by great measure.
2. They over-delivered so far above my expectations. They delighted me. They fulfilled my dreams and expectations. And they cost me significantly LESS than I imagined for those things/experiences I wanted badly. In fact, in a couple of my personal examples, I felt like I should have paid MORE than I did.
Then I asked: What was the worst value I’ve ever gotten?
Listed them out and then asked: How did I feel? and Why were these bad deals?
1. Cheated. Suckered. Used. Taken advantage of.
2. They so badly under-delivered on my expectations that I felt mad, angry and bitter for it. I did not get the baseline, minimal result I expected.
From all this, I gathered that …
Value Is The Expectation of Results
The difference between GREAT value and TERRIBLE value is the RESULT … and my EXPECTATION of that result — whether it meets or falls short of our expectations.
GREAT VALUE then is … exceeding expectations to the point where you only dwell in the result, the effect, the outcome, the beauty of the moment, in the delight, in the dream that is now real …. WHILE minimizing, eliminating, exterminating, smothering any thought of loss, to the point where you almost feel guilty and want to pay MORE for what you got.
So the focus is on the GAIN, the positive result that is unlocked and achieved.
TERRIBLE VALUE then is … so underwhelmingly below the expectation that you question what was actually communicated, agreed on or promised, causing you to put all your attention on the LOSS, the cost, the cheat, and the only result is anger, frustration and bitterness.
So the focus is on the LOSS, the overwhelming negative result of the exchange.
My mentor Michael Smith often shares this quote: “Anger and frustration come from unmet expectations.”
It’s so true. Every time I’m mad, I know someone or something has missed the mark of my expectation.
But the converse is also true. Happiness, delight and satisfaction comes with MET or EXCEEDED expectations.
We all want a substantially higher RESULT than what we give up for it.
So the formula goes:
High, Good Value = Gain > Loss
Low, Bad Value = Loss > Gain
High value makes the focus on enormous positive gain. Low value puts the focus on the overwhelming loss.
To win, gain must always be greater than loss.
And the gain must not just suppress the loss, it must suffocate the existence of ANY loss.
To be regarded as high value, you must not simply meet the expectation of the result, you must EXCEED it.
Now What? Your Homework
So what do you do with all this?
Here are some questions to ask and answer as you think about your current / existing clients in the context of value:
- What do your clients value?
- Then distinguish between what your favorite/best clients value versus what your worst clients value?
- What are their expectations about what you do? (Can you change/influence them for the better?)
- What are the results they want from your work?
- Where is the gap between their expectations, the results they want and the price you’re charging for it?
- How can you bridge that gap?
- How do you manage, or better yet EXCEEDINGLY delight their expectations so much so that they forget about the cost?
- How can you better connect what you do with what they want (and value)? (Hint: You tell their story, and connect it with your solution and the results you produce.)
- Are you maximizing gain, and minimizing loss to them?
- Are you producing the results your clients truly want?
- How can you make the GAIN, the result so good that it suffocates any thought of loss?
With all these answers in mind, think what you can tweak/change about your approach both in finding new clients who value your work and educating/selling/sharing the value you bring to them. Make a list, prioritize it and start acting on it.
Then come share your thoughts about all of this over on the WProsper Facebook group.
Founder of iThemes.com