One of my clients was frustrated recently when she got the monthly bill for email marketing and website management services I provide her company. She felt it was too high, and didn’t quite understand the cost-to-value ratio.

After a long phone conversation,
we managed to clarify the confusion and alleviate her frustrations. However, this scenario reminded me that communicating the value of your product or service does not stop once the sale is made.

When we signed the initial contract, my client was excited that she would not have to concern herself with web updates or with planning, compiling, writing, designing, editing, linking, formatting, testing, scheduling, engaging, follow-up, and all the other factors involved in managing a successful email marketing program.

Since she’s a busy professional who travels a lot, I wanted to provide full-service email marketing solutions that would let her focus on what she does best and not even have to think about her email engagement or web maintenance.

I thought I was being helpful by doing things quickly and quietly, hoping my client would notice (which proved to be my mistake) that I was going above and beyond in order to create the most effective online marketing strategies for her business.

In this case, the problem was that I was being too efficient and too stealth. While I thought this was making my client’s life easier, I found it was actually causing her frustration. Since she didn’t realize all I was doing behind the scenes, she had a hard time equating my value with my cost when the monthly invoice arrived.

Let’s examine the steps necessary to keep this from happening to you:

1. Know Your Value – Products are a little easier to put a value on than services, since the client is getting something tangible. However, they both need to be presented to the client as something that will make their lives better or easier, save them time or money, or improve the conditions of their business.

The value of your product or service will be determined by several factors,
including the state of the economy, your competition and what the market will bear. Don’t sell yourself short just to get business. Instead, do the necessary research so you know what else is going on in your category and how your offering or solution is BETTER, therefore, worth the cost you’re charging.

2. Communicate Your Value Before The Sale
– When you’re pitching your offering to your clients, be sure to focus on the benefits rather than the features. Think about how their lives will be AFTER they buy from you and articulate the feelings, results, outcomes or improvements they will derive from the purchase.

Also, instead of focusing on simply making the sale, put the focus on your true desire to provide the best solutions to their problems, needs or objectives. This way, you are less attached to the results, and operating from the desire to serve always trumps operating from the desire to close a sale.

If your prospects are not quite ready to commit, according to Duct Tape Marketer, John Jantsch, there are only two reasons why that may be:
a) They need more education – That’s your job. Throw them back into the sales cycle and continue to educate them as to the benefits of your offering.

My mom is a real estate agent. Someone in her office just sold a house after working with the buyer for 17 years! Timing is everything, so work with your prospect until they are ready. Unless…

b) They are not qualified – When scouting prospects, make sure they fit the profile of your Ideal Customer. If you don’t have an Ideal Customer Profile, create one. It will save you time and money spent chasing unqualified leads.

3. Do The Work – Congratulations, you made the sale! Now, do what you do best in a timely, friendly and professional manner in the way that you – and only you – can do it. When things get challenging, difficult, frustrating, remind yourself that you are an entrepreneur because you have created an offering that will make a difference in the lives of your customers. So smile as you shine your entrepreneurial light on the world!

Remember Mom The Real Estate Agent I mentioned above? She sold a house recently and went to a local flower shop to drop $200 on floral arrangements for everyone involved in the sale. The sole proprietor was having a busy, rough day and, when my mom showed up, she snapped, “Jessie, I’m not ready for you! I told you the order wouldn’t be ready until this afternoon!” Are you kidding me?! I told my mom that I would disown her if she ever patronized that place again. Yes, we all have bad days, but taking your frustrations out on your customers is inexcusable.

4. Communicate Your Value After The Sale – Here is the lesson I learned from this whole ordeal. Once the work is done – or as it progresses – keep in contact with your clients and let them know exactly what you’re doing and how that is helping them meet the objectives you agreed upon.

As Million-Dollar Consultant, Alan Weiss, puts it, “If you don’t blow your own horn, there is no music!”

You don’t want it to seem like you’re seeking praise or a pat on the back, but rather, you’re keeping them informed out of respect because you care about them achieving their desired outcomes.

Instead of hoping your client notices your excellent, efficient work, it’s better to direct their attention to it in a professional way. By making sure they understand what you’re doing and how it is benefiting them, you are securing their loyalty and making them less eager to search for another vendor, or a better deal, elsewhere.

5. Follow Up – When the original job, sale or assignment is complete, schedule a time to follow up to check in, see how things are working out with your solution and inquire about further needs.

The people you do work for should go into your datatbase and you should continue to engage them via Email newsletters, social media platforms, postcards and even the occasional phone call.

Just because the check has cleared and the work is finished doesn’t mean you forget all about your client. After all, you’re not in business for the sole purpose of closing the deal. You’re in business to build ongoing relationships that are mutually beneficial for yourself and your clients.

By continuing to communicate your value before, during and after the sale, you are reinforcing the quality of your brand and increasing the potential of doing business together in the future.