How to maximise, prove and know your value

value

Pay-off: Know your value and prove it to those you serve (you won’t want to just read this article – you’ll want to actively tear it apart and rebuild it into useful ideas that you can apply – so grab a pen and paper!)

Investment: 15 minutes (includes 23 questions to build value, charge and earn more – these ideas helped me sell into and create value for McKinsey and Company, Capgemini, Apple and KPMG. They work, if you’re prepared to approach them actively.)

Want to get your hands on the ‘cheat sheet’ – the top 20% most actionable content in this article that’ll get you 80% of the value? Download it here in the FREE member content library.

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You’re more valuable than you’re given credit for

In this post, I’ll help you understand value better, and understand your own value, whether it’s your employment value or value of your products and services.

I’ll also help you to get others to see, understand, appreciate and buy into your value.

You can maximise the value you get from this post

This post should help you create, deliver and receive a lot of value. But on one condition; you grab a pen and paper and think through it actively, answering the questions and scheduling actions as you go. You can even talk to me for more help either in the comments at the bottom, or by contacting me here. I’ll reply directly to you.

Let’s begin.

The first rule about ‘value’

think

First, let’s understand something important about ‘value’.

It’s absolutely not what you think it is.

What you see as ‘value’ does not define ‘value’.

No matter how proud or confident you are in your solutions, strengths, products and services, you simply can’t understand or see real value.

Why?

Because real value is in the eye of the beholder.

Value is what the receiver or customer thinks it is. Nothing more.

But the good news is that from where they stand, they can often see value in who we are or what we do that we cannot.

And you know this. Because you work with people who you admire and find great value for all sorts of reasons. But there’s a problem here. You haven’t told them have you? No, you, just like them, tend to keep it a big secret. Which is one of the many reasons why it’s so hard to understand and communicate our value.

Your blind spot for value

One of the main reasons we struggle to understand our full value to others is that often our highest value is created from things we do that come naturally to us.

And because they’re natural or normal to us, we don’t notice we’re doing them. Like breathing (which is rather valuable in itself). Shame really, because it’s often one of our most powerful assets, and we’re often fairly blind to it.

It’s a shame that perhaps your most powerful strength or asset that you’ve acquired in life could be something you’re unaware of.

It’s not special to us, but it is what makes us special.

So, like everything, value is relative and can have an objective and subjective component.

 

Tangible value, and (the more powerful) intangible value

As you probably know, people decide and ‘buy’ into things emotionally then justify with logic. Logic makes us think. Emotion makes us act.

So objective value is great, and provides the logical reason why we might want to act on something. But the subjective value – now that’s really powerful.

The second rule about ‘value’

circleSo, the first rule again about ‘value’ is that it’s in the eye of the beholder. (The idea’s so nice I have to say it twice).

And the second rule about ‘value’, is that the value that matters (what I’ll call ‘real value’) is specifically in the eye of the intended receiver only (or customer, or boss, or partner, or whoever you are currently serving.) These people are qualified in to your ‘value circle’ (with regards to the specific service or job you are doing for them).

Anyone who is not the intended receiver can take a hike (for now). They’re unqualified. (They’re welcome back with their opinions when they want to qualify themselves into the circle you serve.) In the meantime, their perception of value is simply irrelevant and is likely damaging if you let it change what you do. (Yet, unfortunately, many people act on advice from these unqualified people that impacts their real value.)

The fastest and easiest way to increase your value

The fastest and easiest way to increase your value is to position yourself where your value is high. It’s that simple. You need not really do anything else at this stage.

Pick a pond where you’re the biggest fish. Where you’re the fish. If you pardon the expression. You are the fish of your qualified ‘value circle’.

One efficient way to do that is to consider who your intended value is not for, and why. Then embrace the fact that they won’t necessarily like or value what you do.

Why embrace it?

Because it’s great news. Because it boosts your value to those you do serve.

Simple hey?

Hate heavy metal music?

The band yelling their hearts out on stage don’t care. It’s not for you. It’s for the others. And because you don’t like it, the value to the others goes up. It’s special. It’s just for them. It’s for people like them. It’s for a tribe. And it bonds them. They see value in that that is hard to put into words. This intangible value is what changes everything within the bubble you’re operating in.

Why do certain things online that you would rate poorly go viral?

Doesn’t make sense does it? Well, it does to those people sharing. It makes them feel something as they click. They feel like they’re being fun, or smart, or kind, or meaningful, or hilariously crazy, or whatever image they want to project. It’s not tangible, or even logical. But it’s emotional to them, it’s powerful, and it makes them act.

Back to the heavy metal fans who feel part of a tribe. These fans live not just for the music, but for what and who they identify with. And you just upped the value of the band and the genre to these fans by voting against it. They don’t want you to like it. Not until you start dressing, thinking, acting and talking like them. And this makes the band happy (the irony of a heavy metal band appearing happy does not escape me) and the fans are happy. Value is weird like that.

valueshot

Want to get your hands on the ‘cheat sheet’ – the top 20% most actionable content in this article that’ll get you 80% of the value?Download it here in the FREE member content library.

Some people out there just don’t see that much value in you

I shouldn’t just pick on you. I mean me too. It’s probably sensible to say right now that this applies to us both…

A bunch of people out there don’t like our style or what we do. We’re not ‘for them’.

Great!

Your value goes up then to those you are committed to serve. You can point your resources towards them. As I said, you provide greater value than you think, but this is just the start of unlocking that. Keep reading and taking notes as I help you to…

Find your best foot to put forward

bestfootIt pays to find these people who see you as valuable and understand what they value so much about you, what you deliver, and how it impacts their life and their feelings.

Then you can put your best foot forward, in the direction of them and their tribe. And “which direction is that?”, I hear you ask? Well, let’s just say that it’s on the other side of the fog we’re about to head through. Where you’ll also find more options and career paths probably better suited to your unique value.

Do this ‘just enough’

This isn’t easy (otherwise, we’d probably all be precisely where we want to be). But we only have to achieve what we’re about to achieve ‘just enough’. That’s all. That’s do-able.

The goal is to get closer to find what others see as value in us and from what we do. And then we can optionally leverage it, improve it, shout about it, sleep better dreaming about it, or use it to market and position ourselves better and add some value to the world.

And you’ve probably realised by now that whilst I’ve written this for individuals in their career, it fully applies and can be adapted for business or people selling products and services. Just read and substitute the word ‘you’ for ‘your business’.

How to find and leverage your real value

OK, follow through these questions to get through the fog:

(And at a bare minimum use what you learn to buy your loved ones a winning birthday gift).

In any given scenario, who are you intending to deliver value to?

Get clear. Who can you best help right now in the most effective and efficient way? And how? Why them specifically? This is your value circle. And real value is in their eyes, or rather in their minds. No one else’s.

What are they trying to do or achieve and what are they trying to avoid?

They’ll have, in varying degrees:

  • goals
  • a mission
  • a job description
  • beliefs
  • a worldview
  • a set of values (whether they have acknowledged them or not)
  • preferred styles
  • biases and irrational associations
  • challenges
  • an agenda
  • a brand or self-image
  • things that they fear may threaten any of the above
  • people to answer to
  • a life and or family to protect and add value to
  • priorities of perceived importance together with reasons

…and so on.

You might like to re-read those. The specific information that your value circle hang from each of those labels hold the clues to what they interpret as potential value. They hold you and your value up against those. Then they vote. And you experience what happens as a result.

You’d be smart to ask them to talk you through this. Just enough so you understand for your purposes. You can get close by locating the right resources online where they have discussed this in forums, interviews, reviews, Linkedin etc. Just make sure you’re listening to your value circle and no one else.

Given what you’ve discovered, what’s the likely objective measure of ‘value’ that they want?

Or another way of putting it, what scale are you going to help them move up? What does the scale measure? Where are they at? Where can you get them to? By when? And what will that do for their mission, goals and all the above over, say, a 2 to 3 year period?

How do you get closer to this? You ask them. Frame it up as, “in order for me to most effectively help you get the value you desire, and so we’re both crystal clear, what number are we working to increase here, and by how much? Where’s it at? Where do we want it to be?”

You could encourage them to stick a monetary value on it where possible. “What’s the financial value of getting that number from A to B? What about over a 2-3 year period?”

Since they’ve answered, why not throw in, “and by getting the shift from A to B, over a 2-3 year period what else would this mean for you, your career, or your business? What would it enable next for you?”

Because these things always have a ripple effect. And that’s value.valueshot

Want to get your hands on the ‘cheat sheet’ – the top 20% most actionable content in this article that’ll get you 80% of the value?Download it here in the FREE member content library.

 

23 Questions to build value in their mind

You’re now growing ‘value’ in their mind. Just make sure you’re discussing what you can and will deliver on.

This conversation may take you closer to an objective measure of value.

But, as I mentioned, logic and objectivity like this often only get us to think. Logic doesn’t make us act anywhere near as much as emotion does. And that comes from the subjective component of perceived value. The bit that floods us with fear, or excitement. The bit that convinces and compels us to act to become better off.

So how do we hold our value up against that?

Well, you could start by answering these questions. Guess intelligently if you like. Some will open your eyes. Others will increase your value, if you act on them. You don’t have to answer them in order. Answer those you can first (in writing). Then challenge yourself to answer the trickier (higher-value) ones. And if you want to know the top 5 most impactful value questions of all, you can download it here in the FREE member content library.

Most of all, remember that you’ll get the most value by asking those in your value circle.

Grab a pen and paper.

1. Just how much does this person need or want you and what you’re delivering them?

Is it a must have, should have or nice to have for them? How can you create more ‘must haves’ around what you deliver?

2. What are their next cheapest alternatives?

And what do you bring them or enable them that the cheaper alternatives do not? Which of your answers to this question did they actually tell you?

3. How easily or cost-effectively can you be replaced, or duplicated?

What are you contributing to those you have chosen to serve that another person – or a machine, absolutely could not?

4. With your current rate of learning and growth, what’s your realistic ‘shelf-life’?

How long will you remain relevant and be able to consistently add enough value to those you serve? Some people will assess your future potential value, based on what they’re seeing now. A strong networker, for example, may have someone see the potenial future value of their network if it keeps growing at that rate.

What could you do to increase your shelf-life, or become ‘evergreen’ to those you serve? How can you set yourself up so that your value grows as time goes by?

5. What’s the ratio of time, money and energy you input to time money and energy you create and output for others?

How can you maximise the output?

6. How much of a risk to their goals, mission and overall plans do they perceive you (or your actions) to be?

How could you find that out? How could you reduce their perception of that and increase certainty that you’ll deliver? What behaviours would you have to demonstrate early?

7. What is the highest impact activity you consistently do in your work?

The activity that impacts you, your employer and your customers the most? What if you found a way to spend more time doing that?

8. How strongly do they feel that you will increase their chances in whatever they are doing?

Very strongly? A bit? Not much? And what could you do for them that would convince them they’re in the right hands? When will you do that?

9. What do you get paid to do that energises you the most?

What do you deliver that tends to put the most energy into others (or animates them when they receive it?)

10. How much do they smile when with you?

How much fun, enjoyment or energy do they appear to have when you interact with them? How alive are you making them feel? What could you do to improve that?

11. What do you tend to do more effortlessly than others?

What do others actually compliment you on? Note they may have done this with a controlled sense of awe. (You might be awesome at this. It might be high value.)

12. What do you have and can bring to the table that others don’t?

What have those you serve actually reacted positively to?

13. What do you know that others do not?

What questions then could you ask those you serve that your competition or colleagues are unlikely to? And how might these questions help your ‘customer’ think and feel? This is an easy way to ramp up value.

14. How easy do they think you are to work with?

Are you getting signals that you’re causing them headaches, or making most things simple, reliable, and clear?

15. Who do you know that your competition does not?

How could these people help your customers or those you serve? Have you told them that you know these people? Have you asked if that’s potential ‘value’?

16. What can you do that others can’t, and what do you do over and above what was expected?

Even though it was never part of the job, what do you consistently do? What does that enable them to do? How does that help those you serve in their mission or goal achievement?

17. When someone says “thanks, I couldn’t have done it without you!” do you just smile, or do you say, “hang on…why not?” and listen hard.

18. If you asked them, “when we’ve nailed this job, what will others think and say? What will your boss say? How will you feel?”, what would they likely answer?

What evidence do you have for your answer? And what could you do that would take this a level higher? Schedule it.

19. The quality of ones life or work is directly proportional to the quality of their thinking. So how are you increasing the quality of thinking of those you serve?

Hint: telling them stuff nearly always lowers the quality of their thinking. Asking them thought provoking stuff increases the quality of their thinking. What’s the one question, that if you asked it of someone you serve, would steer them towards some high-value ideas or solutions?

20. What challenge did you take on that you’re proudest of winning? What did that prove about your value?

How might that proven value enable you to maximise value to more people? (You have evidence, after all).

21. How much peace of mind do you bring those you serve?

What have they told you that confirms your answer? Do you ever leave them wondering or guessing what’s going on? Or do you drive absolute certainty and clarity to them so that they can get on with what they need to? The right answer is the answer they would give, not you!

22. How often do they connect you to other people?

Have you ever thanked them sincerely and added, “…referrals are so valuable to me, and it really helps me to understand what I’m doing right. Do you mind if I ask why specifically you happily refer me on?”

23. And one last question for you; how can you take the value you habitually create others, increase it, and provide it to more people, more frequently?

Because that may just be your jackpot. And note, you probably only need 1000 true fans.


Want to get your hands on the ‘cheat sheet’ – the top 20% most actionable content in this article that’ll get you 80% of the value? Download it here in the FREE member content library.


 

Get these questions answered – that’s where value lies

These questions are worth answering. They’ll change everything about your approach, self-belief, confidence, clarity, and help change and shape how those you serve value what you do.

And once you have asked those you serve what value really looks like, you just need to hold the relevant aspects of yourself or your offering up against that, provide proof through your approach, behaviours, attitude and previous results, and deliver.

Some of the questions it absolutely pays to ask your customer, client or those in your ‘value circle’. And you may struggle to ask them and get useful answers. But you can learn how to ask them fluently and conversationally. Give me a shout if you or your team need help with that.

And start with those you’re more comfortable to ask. Then, with rapport, you may frame up and ask some of the others.

And when should you ask them?

When they’ve lit up like a fruit machine that’s about to dish out the jackpot prize. When they’ve directly received and realised  your value in the moment, and their eyes have glowed, their smile has joined their ears, and their head has practically done a 360 in total joy for what you’ve done for them, their business…or their ego.

That’s a good time to ask. The next best time to ask is when you get as close to that as you’re ever likely to.

Finally, one of the most valuable things you can do for others is to help them unlock their value.

Your colleagues, family and friends probably aren’t clear on their own value. And this lack of clarity limits our options in work and in life. It’s a shame, because, like you, they’ll be sitting on potential they’re not aware of. So why not share or forward them this post so they can have the opportunity to set themselves up to succeed with this? I’d appreciate your help creating value by sharing and I’m sure they will find value in it. Just use the buttons on the side, and thanks for your help.

Good luck,

Mark

P.S. If you’re in business or in sales, read this again through the lens of your business. Focus on the objective value for sure, but at all costs, DO NOT FAIL to put major focus on the subjective value. This is what people buy. And here is how to help people buy.

P.P.S. Your value is different to your strengths. Your strengths enable you to maximise your value. If you were hoping to find and prioritise your strengths, you can use this excellent free survey which sends you a tailored, useful report. It may just help you get closer to exploring and maximising your value.

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