of the beholder. What you feel is valuable may have little or no interest
to your customers. Yet there are inevitably things about your offerings
that your customers prize highly, and you may not be aware of them.
This was certainly true for me. I was absolutely convinced that the value
I brought to my customers came from the breadth of my business expe-
rience in a variety of industries and my ability to get results. In reality,
what they valued most was the discipline I brought into their lives—the
fact that I helped them stay focused on what was of greatest importance
in their businesses.
Are you making the same mistake I did? Are you making assump-
tions like I did? If so, stop it! Take a few minutes to survey your cus-
tomers to see what it is that they truly value. Ask them, “If you had to
pick one or two things that you enjoy most about our offerings or make
your life easier, what would they be?” This question generally works bet-
ter in face-to-face meetings with your customers than in an on-line or
paper survey. In person, you can sense the genuineness and power of
their comments. If there is passion and excitement in their voices, you
know that you have a legitimate value proposition—one that you can in-
corporate into your marketing messages. On the other hand, if theyre
making something up to appease you, be gracious and thank them for
their feedback, then ignore it. It has little value.
Pay particular attention to the language your customers use in an-
swering the survey questions. Youll want to incorporate that language
into your marketing messages. Don’t forget to ask whether you can use
their comments in a testimonial. If they agree, take what they said and
put it into testimonial format and let them review it prior to using it in
your marketing materials. Drafting the testimonial for them makes it
easier for them to say Yes” to your requests. It also assures that you have
the opportunity to create congruity with other aspects of your market-
ing messages.
Before we move on, lets reiterate the key to this section: you need
to understand value from the customers’ perspective. What you think is ir-
relevant; its your customers’ perspectives that count.
Crafting Messages That Have Meaning for Your Buyers
Once you know what your customers value, communicating that value
is pretty straightforward, right? Oh, if life were that simple. The reality
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