If you put your ear to the ground…you can hear it. There is a groundswell, and it’s coming your way.
Will you be a leader in this grassroots movement or will you bring up the rear?
To be in the forefront, you must redefine how you discover, define and discuss your value with all those you encounter, both professionally and personally. First, you need to discover your value both as an individual and as an organization. Then you need to articulate this value with a clarity that compels people to think, talk and act in ways that create a “professional velocity” propelling you toward your goals.
Have you seen the popular motivational poster that reads, “LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY?” Although the message applies to leadership, the same can be said for how you see yourself in this “Communicating Your Value” movement.
Bold individuals and visionary companies look for a competitive edge. Let’s fact it; we all compete in a hyper-competitive world. We are constantly looking for an edge in price, service – or anywhere else we can proclaim to our customers – that we do it better. To gain that edge each of you can adapt the mindset to recognize the twist – the impetus – that makes this movement unique. It’s based on the idea that value is in the application of an idea, not on the idea itself.
To be included in this “Communicating Your Value” movement you must first rethink how you discuss your value. Standout value is defined as making that which is already there, known. Or, one might say making the invisible, visible.
Can you develop and discuss your value on an ongoing basis? I believe the only way to discover value is to use powerful, probing questions to uncover your story – and to create a new one.
How is your client, customer, patient, guest or prospect better off? As a result of you, your product, service or idea? The steps are easy. The implementation is hard because it requires a different mindset: ask rather than tell.
Imagine 30 minutes with that perfect prospect. You know the one. Landing them can be a life changing experience. A 20th century mindset would spend those same 30 minutes talking: telling your story, telling your client list, this is who we are, this is who I am. A 21st century mindset would spend 28 of those 30 minutes asking:
How will you know when you have found the right source?
What value would this have for you?
What is the impact of doing nothing?
I call the first step in redefining your value the Step Up moment. Stepping Up means getting clear and getting out of The Stupid Zone. In order to get clarity, you must recognize the power of the stories – both positive and negative – that you are telling yourself. “Get real,” as Dr. Phil would say, or at least get “real clear” before every phone call, appointment or speech. What do you say to yourself before you talk to a client? What is the story you tell yourself about your value before you walk into a meeting, or attend an event?
One consultant tells Susan’s story. Her assignment was to look in the mirror and say “My fee is $50,000.” Susan looked in the mirror, hesitated for a moment, and said “My fee is $35,000.”
The story Susan was telling herself was that she was not worth her $50,000 fee. The stories we tell ourselves help create the visual pictures we use to make our decisions.
We have to be honest with ourselves and with the stories we tell ourselves. The times we are dishonest are usually the same situations where we fail to question our pat answers.
This is when we find ourselves in The Stupid Zone. That’s a place we live when we tell ourselves and others stories to rationalize rather than change our behavior. To get out of The Stupid Zone we have to ask questions to create our Stand Out Value.
The Stupid Zone is where we live when we talk through our defining moments. A defining moment can change the course of the discussion, the sale, the future. Do you talk through your defining moments? To get out of The Stupid Zone we have to ask powerful questions to stimulate buy-in.
The Stupid Zone is the place we live when we don’t question ourselves and others. Do you ask why a client chose to work with you? Do you ask why a client chose not to work with you?
Think about a salesperson who never stops talking. The Stupid Zone is where we live when we talk about what we do rather than the results of what we do. How often have you heard yourself talk about how hard you worked, how many hours you put in, how many years of experience you or your company have, rather than the results you could create?
Standing Out is the second step in how we communicate our value. Our value must be clear and subjective at the same time, because value is different for everyone. Standing Out is the application of our value contribution.
Both our value and our ability to communicate our value are tied to the story we tell ourselves and then the stories we tell each other. These are the stories that create standout value, interest and worth. These stories create the context and connection that propel us forward.
For 18 years, Charlie repaired machines. One day he noticed a sign on the company bulletin board advertising for a salesperson. With no sales experience, but a wealth of product knowledge, Charlie applied. For the first year, both Charlie and the company saw him as the fix-it-guy. The story Charlie told himself was that he was still the repair guy.
Only when Charlie started telling himself the story that he could successfully apply his years of inside experience to the selling cycle did he see results. Only when he saw himself as a salesperson and no longer made himself available on a daily basis to fix machines did he see results. Only when the story Charlie conveyed to others was Charlie the professional, jacket-wearing, sales closing guy did he see results. Only when others took the lead from Charlie and stopped seeing him as the machine guy, only when he adopted a different mindset, did Charlie begin to see the results that propelled his sales career forward.
Charlie created Stand Out Value because he created clarity in his product which was himself. He defined and applied his unique value: a salesperson with a wealth of product knowledge based on 18 years of inside experience.
We all find ourselves in a hyper-competitive world. Everyone thinks their situation is different because they are in a different business and a different industry. Here’s the common theme: all of us are fighting to find and present our competitive edge.
What if you don’t buy-in to this idea?
I call it the danger of the deer. What saves a deer in the forest is exactly the same thing that could contribute to our business demise. A deer lives by blending into the environment. We thrive by standing out in ours.
The way we stand out is by redefining how we discover and communicate our value. The real challenge – the part that separates those who think they want to be in the movement from “card-carrying” members – is in the implementation.
Look for your answer in the “Communicating Your Value” movement. This movement is your mental state: a state that creates buy-in, can influence high-risk decisions and develop personal confidence in our abilities and the value we bring.
Membership requires members to “own” the twist of the impetus that makes this movement unique. The understanding that the value is in the application an idea, a product, a service, not the idea, product, or service itself. This mindset will create the idealized future or the Stand Out Value which communicates your role and your gifts.
This grassroots “Communicating Your Value” movement is coming your way. Will the groundswell sweep you in its wake, or will you find the higher ground?
5 tips to identify and communicate your value in the 21st century
- Your market assigns your value—not you
- To find out your value ask questions
- Value is rarely price related
- Practice talking about the results of your product or service
- Replace less empowered stories that you tell yourself