In order to understand the value you offer others, you need to establish 3 things:
1. What are values?
2. What do you value?
3. What do they value?
… and then you can ask, what is the value of what you do for your clients?
1. What are values?
Values are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable. Values have major influence on a person’s behavior and attitude and serve as broad guidelines in all situations. Some common business values are fairness, innovation and community involvement. Some common personal values are family, friends, and wealth.
Human economics are often measured in monetary values. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often forget to stop and think about the values apparent in our environments. Why do we think purchasing a jacket at 50% discount is a bargain when we know it couldn’t possibly have been marked correctly on the original price? (no one would sell below market value unless they were replacing its value with something else). What is employment worth to a single mum as opposed to a Stepford wife? What is the worth of a brand new sports car to a multimillionaire as opposed to a rusty old fiat to a man living 50km away from his workplace? What is an un-paid internship experience worth to an immigrant fighting for their dreams as opposed to an overseas trip for a spoilt teenager?
2. What do you value?
Most people are not clear about their own values. We often cop out on that answer and fall to the default answer that our values are family, friends and wealth. They might be, however then they are not measured correctly up agains each others, and also not compared to your behaviour and personality. The most recent model to measure values is the competing values framework, which is a management model created by Quinn and Quinn (2010).
Today, management skills are commonly segmented into the competing values framework including four paradigms which have developed over time. Contingent upon environment and situation, and due to the complexities of life and technical, social and political “forces of time” several models are necessary to describe efficiency. The competing values framework includes the rational goal model (Control), the internal process model (Compete), the human resources model (collaborate), and the open systems model (Create). In order to understand yours and others values more clearly, you can read ‘Becoming a Master Manager’ (Quinn & Quinn 2011), contact me for a competing values assessment using a matrix test I have made based on Quinn & Quinn’s model, or read through the below competing values:
Q: Do you value stability and continuity more than team cohesion?
Q: Do you value creativity more than profitability?
Q: Do you value being in control more than understanding other?
What do others value?
The best way to find another persons values is to ask them, interview style. Explore and elicit information about the persons opinion, beliefs and values as well as their perspective on a specific issue. This way you achieve a holistic understanding of their point of view or situation. It also allows you to understand an extraordinary amount of complexity and to reduce and compare it for increased understanding and further social development for both of you. As the most natural and obvious way of gathering information, interview style conversations become a “space” for people to be heard and understood, creating a sense of acceptance and belonging. Interview style conversations both connect people with information and creates better relationships.
You will found that, once you learn to listen to others messages with focus and open-mindedness, you will also achieve a sense of self-awareness. Fifty years of research has found that people interpret messages differently due to prior experiences and events and thus expectations. Experience depends on a person’s actions, behaviour, thoughts, decisions, skills, knowledge, identity, environment, beliefs and values. The latter two in particular stands out in a globalised world with increasing awareness of and sensitivity to, different beliefs and values across cultures. Values are hard to change because they are long-lasting beliefs built on moral and ethics about what is important in a variety of situations. Values and beliefs thus play an important role in communicating a vision that will influence individual behaviour, including purchasing behaviour. Do you know why your customers buy? Do you know the value of your product or service from their perspective?
This type of two-way communication is what we in public relations call symmetry. The concept of symmetry suggest that, if the PR function aims to value both the organisation and the customer, it must be based on values that reflect a moral obligation to balance the interests of an organisation with the interests of the customer. So, ideal (or best practice) public relations in your business – customer relationship would therefore be to understand what your customer wants, and then only really let them buy what they want without selling to them – even if it then turns out that you don’t offer what they need.
Is this what you do? Do you let your customers purchase in their own best interest? or, is your price aligned with the value your product or service have to your customer?