How do your organization’s values…

…align with your customers’ values?

I recently attended a meeting which highlighted an organization that took great pride in its culture, it’s values, how it treated it’s employees and the clarity of its expectations of its employees.  Indeed, they had good reason to be proud.  The clarity was greater than I see in many companies.

At the end of the presentation I asked “How do your values align with those of your customers?  Do you find that those customers who share your values are more profitable than those who don’t?”

To the CEO’s credit he admitted that many of his customers were at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of the values that drive their organizations.  He didn’t indicate that any of his customers were closely aligned with his company’s values.  Nor did he address the question “Do you find that those customers who share your values are more profitable than those who don’t?”  I suspect that he didn’t have experience with customers who shared his company’s values which would explain the lack of a response to that final question

My experience in working with clients and their customers, and in my own business, is that when you and your customers share the same values, you enjoy higher prices and profits.  Let’s take a look at a simple example.

Often I get involved in helping clients negotiate deals or defining the strategy for the negotiation.  Whenever a client or prospect approaches me to provide this service I tell them that my goal in  negotiation is get a fair deal.  That I believe that the greatest value lies in long-term relationships which can’t be created when one party is looking for the “best” deal for themselves.  Then I tell them that if they’re looking for the best deal they can get, I’m not the right guy for the job.

Using this simple approach I make sure that my client’s values and mine are aligned.  If they’re not, we don’t move forward.  Why?  Because we aren’t going to be successful in the negotiation if either of us is going against our natures.  Let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting that I’m right and the prospect is wrong or vice versa.  I’m simply saying that we’re not going to enjoy much, if any, success with divergent views on the right approach.

You can apply that same concept to any product or service you offer.  If the customer wants you to alter your offering in a way that violates your value system, neither of you is going to enjoy much success.  Limited success translates into lower prices.  The lower the value that a customer can expect to receive, the less they’re willing to spend.

It’s counter-intuitive, but one of the easiest ways to command higher prices and generate higher margins is to set define your values and use those values to decide whether or not a prospective customer/client meets those criteria.

Author – Dale Furtwengler