For anyone out there that has children, or has been a child (all of us), think about a time when valuesomeone bought you a really nice gift that you didn’t want. You know, may it be a piece of jewelry that you would never wear or a cashmere sweater that isn’t your style.

While great gifts, on your (or your child’s) best behavior, all that could be mustered up was a mere “Thanks.”

Has this happened to you before?

When this happens what we are witnessing is perceived value. Regardless of the price of the item, because the recipient doesn’t care for it, the value is extremely low. That is because value directly correlates with the recipients want or need for the item(s).

Why you must understand what is valuable to your customers

Applying the example above to the work that we do, allow me to ask a question.

Have you ever dealt with a client or customer doesn’t value what you do for them? No matter how hard you try, it seems that the work you do will never be good enough and you feel like you constantly have to reenforce the value that you bring?

Pretty frustrating?

Of course it is. You work hard to satisfy your client and in return you get no appreciation. Perhaps only the financial gain offsets the disturbing nature of the relationship. But we deal with it because it is part of business, right?

Here is the thing…

I know that businesses need to take on work that isn’t ideal at times to keep the lights on. However, there is a question you must ask yourself everyday and that is…

What value do my customers and for that matter each customer see in the product or service that is provided? And if you don’t know, then perhaps their disdain or ungrateful nature is more warranted than you think.

Learning what customers see as valuable

So what do you think the easiest way to find out what is valuable about your services to your clients?

While you can probably discern this to some degree by the services most rendered, that really only indicates what your organization is best at selling.

I would suggest the best way to learn what your customers see as valuable would be to ask them.

It amazes me how often I have dealt with clients or been a client and never been asked for feedback. And whether that feedback is in some type of survey, or more ideally for a smaller business via a face-to-face discussion, it is paramount that we ask our clients and customers what they see as value that we deliver.

The most important thing to understand about value

If you are going to take one thing away from this post, I would hope it would be this…

Real value that drives long term business relationships is built when the client believes that the value they are getting for products and services exceeds the amount of financial compensation that they are paying for those services.

Believe it or not, it is really that simple. Even if you are offering what you feel is a great deal for your service, if it isn’t what the client needs, then it isn’t worth what you are asking.

It all goes back to the really nice sweater that Grandma bought you. She could have told you it was a thousand dollar sweater, and the only thing that could have made you smile was knowing you could return it or exchange it for something that you want.

In the simplest form, that is value.

Moving forward, ask yourself this with every customer you serve. Are we creating the type of value that is going to keep customers happy and working with us?

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