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How to Get Clear on Your Ultimate Value

How To Get Clear On Your Ultimate Value

by David C. Miller

The golden question: "Do you know what you do that makes people want to hire you?"

Ironically, one of the most common ailments of consultants is that they struggle to both appreciate and articulate the ultimate value they provide to their clients.

Yes, that's right–in my experience, people don't fully realize the value they offer. If you don't realize it, you'll have difficulty conveying your worth to your prospects and clients.

Most consultants certainly have an answer to the golden question in the form of a 30–second commercial or elevator speech. But their answers are more about what they do than the value they add.

I believe the main reason for this is that, as consultants, we are so close to what we do, that it's hard for us to fully appreciate the valuable services we provide for our clients. It's a "can't see the forest for the trees" problem.

As a result, our marketing message lacks clarity and power and, ultimately fails to get the desired response from prospects.

Here's a simple exercise you can do to get crystal clear on the value you add. It starts with putting your value to words using a technique called chaining.

The Process

First, I'll show you the six–step process and then we'll look at an example:

  • Step 1: Write down what you do for your clients. Don't try to be perfect. Just put on paper the things you do for your clients.
  • Step 2: Ask yourself, "So what? Who cares?" Does this question resonate in the context of what you wrote down? If you're like most people, it will. This is because our clients really don't care what we do–they're more interested in how we can help them. So if "so what" is an appropriate response to what you wrote down, then move on to Step 3.
  • Step 3: Examine what you wrote down in Step 1. Ask yourself, "It's great that I do these things, but what does this accomplish for my client?"
  • Step 4: Write down the answer that comes to your mind.
  • Step 5: Repeat steps 2 through 4 until you get a statement that really encapsulates the ultimate value you provide for your clients. You may have to do two to four iterations to arrive at an answer that really sings.
  • Step 6: Put together two statements: one that sums up the problems you solve and a second that summarizes that results you help your clients achieve.

Let's Look at an Example

Ken is a financial planner and advisor who is struggling to enroll clients. He takes himself through the chaining exercise as follows:

Ken's initial statement: "We use our proprietary models to develop superior financial plans for people."

"So what?" and "Who cares?" seem like legitimate questions. Ken described what he does for people ("putting together financial plans"), but people aren't hiring him for a financial plan–they're hiring him to get a result! He moves to Step 3, continuing the chaining process.

"What does "putting together superior financial plans accomplish for my clients?"

He brainstorms: "In the process of putting these plans together, my clients get a clearer picture of where they are now and where they want to be financially."

"... and what does getting a clearer picture do for my clients?"

"Having this picture enables me to develop a clearly–defined strategy that will get my clients from point A to point B."

"... and what does having a clearly defined strategy do for my clients?"

"This will give them the confidence and peace of mind knowing they can really achieve their financial goals and realize their dreams."

Now Ken is feeling like he's getting somewhere. These things were always obvious to him, but he's realizing that they're not necessarily obvious to his clients, so they need to be effectively communicated.

Wrapping it Up

Now Ken needs to summarize.

"What's the problem I'm solving?"

"The problem is that many people are worried because they don't know where they stand financially and what to do to achieve their financial goals and realize their dreams."

"What's the ultimate value I'm adding to my clients?"

"I work with my clients to draw a financial map which shows where they are today and where they want to be 5, 10 and 20 years from now. Then I design and implement a clearly–defined strategy that will get them to their financial destination. This strategy gives them confidence and peace of mind."

Ken is amazed at how his articulation evolved in just minutes by doing this exercise. In the process he became clearer about three things:

  • his target market
  • the problems he solves
  • the results he delivers.

Your marketing message is foundational to you building your business, so don't leave it to chance. Please feel free to contact me if you would like help with this exercise.

David C. Miller, MS, PCC, is a professional business coach who works with actuaries, consultants and executives who desire to attract more clients and be more influential in their organizations. He conducts seminars and one–on–one coaching in business development, consultative selling, influence, leadership, team building and communication effectiveness. He can be reached at 215.968.2483.