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The four currencies

 25 January 2021     Donald Cooper 

Many businesses, both large and small, make the mistake of believing their customers have only one currency in their lives, which is money. So, they can think of only one way to compete, which is to cut their price. Price is important but when you realize most people actually have four currencies in their lives, there are dozens of ways to compete that don’t include cutting your price.

What exactly is a currency? A currency is anything of value to your customers they don’t have enough of.  And on this planet, in our society, at this time there are four things we don’t have enough of. They are money, time, feeling safe (physically and emotionally safe) and, feeling special.

Many of your customers will spend more money to save time, to feel more safe or more special. For example, a $25,000 car will get us everywhere we want to go, on time in reasonable comfort. But perhaps it wouldn’t make us feel safe enough or special enough.

If we have an alarm system in our home, we’ve spent a lot of money to feel more safe. If we have beautiful crown moldings in our home, we’ve spent a lot of money for what? Crown moldings don’t save us time and they offer no increased safety but they do look beautiful and make us feel more special!

When we’re choosing an investment advisor, travel agent or mechanic for our car, we’re looking for someone who will deliver all four currencies. Someone who will make or save us money, who will save us time and make us feel both safe and special.

Consider the relative importance of each of the four currencies when choosing the car you drive, the food you eat, where you live, the possessions you’ve acquired and the relationships you’ve entered into in both your business and your personal life. Think about what mix of money, time, feeling safe and feeling special influenced your decisions.

Then, think about how you can use these same four currencies to add value and build relationships with your target customers. How can you save them money (or make them money), save them time, make them feel physically and emotionally more safe and how can you make them feel more special at every touch-point?

Invest an hour to sit with some of the best minds and hearts in your business. Explain the four currencies and ask for their help in generating ideas about all the ways you can help customers save money, save time, feel more safe and more special. This exercise will generate dozens of powerful ideas on how to deliver compelling customer value, extraordinary customer experiences and powerful marketing ideas. You’ll be amazed at what you come up with!

Here’s something else to think about:
Are you making the add-on sale? I just had a new windshield installed at Speedy Glass and right there on the service counter was a big display of replacement windshield wipers in three price ranges: good, better and best as well as information about a special $24 anti-stick, anti-glare windshield coating, originally developed for aircraft.

So, I bought the wipers and the coating for a total of $106, which increased the invoice by 28%. And, given the typical margin on accessories, there may well have been more profit for Speedy Glass in the wipers and coating than on the new windshield.

I could have gone to Canadian Tire to comparison shop on the wipers, but who has time. At Canadian Tire getting them installed would not be easy.  And in the freezing cold, I don’t want to mess with installing them myself. Speedy Glass offered me the convenience and made the add-on sale.

So, what additional products, services, convenience, help, training or assistance might your customers need, and how could you add that, communicate that and sell that? Customers will love you for it and it will make a big difference on your bottom line.

That’s it for this week. Stay safe and live brilliantly!

Stearns & Foster
Cocoon by Sealy
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.

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