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The simple truth about value

 6 September 2023     Donald Cooper 

Whatever you sell, your market is over-served and under-differentiated. There are too many other businesses selling what you’re selling and most of you look alike, sound alike and charge about the same price. Ultimately, customer ownership and business profitability is about creating, delivering and communicating compelling value that grabs your target customers, clearly differentiates you from your competitors, makes you famous and grows your bottom line.

Customers demand value and every business promises it but there’s a huge lack of clarity about what value really is. Let’s keep it simple; there are only three kinds of value: functional, emotional and financial. That’s it

We deliver functional value when we:

  • sell extraordinary products, services and experiences that actually work for our target customers.
  • are open or available when they need us.
  • provide the information, coaching, support and encouragement they need to wisely choose and effectively use what we sell. In other words, be their ‘caring coach’.
  • create policies, systems and processes that make us easy, efficient and consistent to do business with.

So, how can we improve our functional value in the four areas listed above?

Next is emotional value. Most businesses struggle with this one. They think it’s some airy-fairy thing that can’t be defined – and they’re dead wrong!

Quite simply, we deliver emotional value when our customers feel better about themselves and the world every time they do business with us, and every time they use what they bought from us. That’s it!

If we’re not delivering emotional value, we’re not connecting with our customers on an emotional level, which is where most buying decisions are made, or strongly influenced.

Making people feel good, on its own, may not earn you the business, but making them feel lousy, will likely lose you the business.

So, how could we deliver more emotional value? How could we make prospects and customers feel valued, respected and safe? How could we brighten their day with simple acts of kindness, joy and gratitude? Whatever we sell, people come to us for that, plus joy! We must never underestimate the power of joy. It may sound corny, but it will make a big difference in their day.  People will always remember how we made them feel.

Financial value is number three. Most businesses put it as number one but it has to be three, because it’s a function of the previous two.

We deliver financial value when our customers believe they have paid a fair and competitive price for all the functional and emotional value they got from us. If we don’t deliver extraordinary functional and emotional value, there’s no price low enough to be good enough.

So, the question is, are we delivering the compelling combination of functional, emotional and financial value that makes us the clear, wise choice for our target customers? If not, what needs fixing in our business, who will fix it? And by when?

Then, when we’ve done the work, we need to effectively communicate our compelling value story in everything we do. There’s no point being the best if we’re also the best kept secret. 

Note: If you’d like a little coaching help with this important process of creating, delivering and communicating compelling customer value, I’m easy to find at

Here’s something else to think about:
A recent survey states 40% of newly promoted first-time managers fail within the first 18 months. My guess is that this number is low.

Doing is fundamentally different from managing. But in business, we often take our best doer, make him or her a manager, without the extensive training required to successfully manage things and lead people and then wonder why it doesn’t always work out.

If you don’t have the time, resources or ability to do the proper training, don’t make the move.  Either they’ll muddle along creating problems, inefficiency and frustration for all concerned or they’ll leave. Either way, you’ll lose a great doer and still be down a great manager. And, in the process, you may have severely damaged their life.

The solution is simple: develop an effective training course for first-time managers or send your people with potential to such a course somewhere in the outside world. Then, ask them if they even enjoyed the management stuff they learned. Did it turn their crank? If not, nurture and cherish them as great doers and don’t promote them to be failures.

New car prices have gone crazy. As of June 2023 the average price of a new vehicle in Canada increased by 21% year-over-year, to a record high of $66,288.

Add on higher interest rates and the average monthly finance payment on a new car was $797 as of June, up 38% from June 2019. Because of all this, the price of used cars has also skyrocketed.

Ford Model T fun facts. By constantly improving production efficiency, the Model T price fell from $825 in 1908 to just $360 in 1917. While the price was coming down, quality, features and performance improvements were constantly added or improved. Fifteen million Model Ts were sold by 1927, resulting in a 61% market share.

So, what are you doing to constantly improve the quality and performance of the products or services you sell, while continually improving operational efficiency?

That’s it for this week. Live brilliantly!

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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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