Are you Selling HAMMERS…or delivering DREAMS?

The word VALUE has been around a very long time…and I’m sure it has changed definitions many times throughout the years depending on what point in time you were asking about it. But in the new Revolution we are currently living in, I believe Value has a very different definition and certainly new ways to be delivered and brought to life.

Value isn’t always about the SALE or the transaction…it is about HOW ARE YOU HELPING ME DO BETTER AT WHAT I DO. This to me is where real value shows itself. Someone can purchase a product or service from you any time…but did they receive value? Unless it truly helped them in some recognizable way they won’t perceive it as providing value. Your product/service might fill a “need” for them but did it really provide value to helping them improve their life?

I prefer a simpler method to assess VALUE with customers…WORD-OF-MOUTH.

Take a simple example…a hammer. You could sell them the best hammer available in the market…but if all they wanted to do was pound in a few nails you simply met a need. They don’t perceive this as something with incredible value, but it solved their issue and met their needs. However, if you knew they had a budding interest in building things, you could start to share with them some simple plans on how to build a birdhouse or a doghouse or a dollhouse or something they could start with and be successful. Give them simple, easy to follow steps on how to really use the hammer in a way to build something creative and beautiful. Then show them how to use it for other purposes around the house that didn’t involve hammering nails, such as pulling things off or apart or hammering things that might be out of alignment. NOW YOU HAVE ADDED SIGNIFICANT VALUE to the simple hammer. A tool went to something they see has incredible value to them in helping them in their lives.

Take this a step further and you will begin to see the real value in this strategy of HELPING vs. MEETING A NEED. What happens next is where YOU start to see the real value in this approach…the CUSTOMER STARTS TALKING ABOUT YOU AND SHARING YOUR CONTENT.

Extend the example above of the hammer to see how this can work. Let’s say the person you helped built a dollhouse for his daughter based on what you helped him with in learning how to use the hammer. They have friends over for dinner who also have a little girl. You show them your new dollhouse and they go nuts…they want one. They want to build their own and the immediately ASK YOU how you made it happen. You immediately tell them about “the hammer company” that helped you all the way through it so you could create it and all you wanted was to hammer in a few nails. What do they immediately do…start following, checking out, and most likely purchasing your hammer and want to get all the VALUE you offer in helping them build the dollhouse.

Extend the hammer example one final step. When they have both finished building their dollhouses, they are very proud of them but they also see the joy this brings their little girls. They take pictures of her big smiles playing with the dollhouse you just built…lots of them…AND THEY SHARE THEM ON THEIR FAVORITE SOCIAL CHANNELS. They are proud of what they created because it made their daughter happy and they want to share it…a lot. Their message reaches thousands of people…just like them…many of whom would love to build a dollhouse if they only knew how…your company now is the one that gets to help all of them…using your hammer and all the value content you provide to guide them through the process.

If you sold only 10 hammers but provided this value to these people, they just reached 10,000+ people (based on the average person having a minimum of 1000 social connections). Not all will buy a hammer…but they now know about you if they ever do…many will buy the hammer…from you!

The hammer was designed to drive in a nail. You turned it into an adventure and something of INCREDIBLE VALUE for the right audience. You turned a simple product into a dream. You brought a whole new meaning to the hammer for these customers. YOU BROUGHT THEM VALUE.

Word-of-Mouth about the latest “deal” or “bargain” isn’t true Word-of-Mouth…it’s an aberration (more on that in another post). It’s simply passing along the word about a better deal on a commodity you can now get cheaper today than yesterday…NO VALUE.

Word-of-Mouth that is delivered out of providing incredible value, a dream, something that really helps improve someone’s life is true word-of-mouth and is what gets talked about over and over and over again. It has the “long tail” of conversation because it stirred PASSION and FEELINGS in the person. And when you bring these to life with your product or service, you get passionate word-of-mouth. This is what gets spread…because you added honest and deep value to someone’s life.

Ask yourself this question, “Is what we are doing with our products and services adding value that stirs passion and feelings of happiness and truly improves the lives of our customers?” If the answer is no, I would strongly suggest you take a deeper look into what you are really providing. My guess is you are solving a NEED, not delivering TRUE VALUE.

As with the simple example of the hammer (nothing more than a simple commodity product), I personally believe you can turn the most mundane, non-exciting products/services into something that brings incredible value to your customers…so they will talk about you…a lot…and help you with your marketing and sales efforts by telling tens of thousands of others how you helped the with their dreams, not their needs. That is DIFFERENTIATION IN A COMMODITIZED WORLD.

Is the hammer you’re selling solving a NEED or delivering a DREAM? Gut check time…

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