Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Deliver Value Beyond What Is Expected

Value is more important than ever.

The economy of the past year and a half has taken its toll on everyone, and people are still gun shy about hiring new vendors. Across industry lines people are skeptical of spending money without knowing what they will get for a return.

I personally do not mind spending money if it helps my business expand over the long run, but I hate feeling like I over spent for a product or service.... or that only the vendor won in the exchange. If they do not want to cultivate a friendship beyond sending me a bill, I am not sure that they have my best interests at heart.

I find that businesses that hire speakers for conferences are the same way. As I talk with meeting planners, sales managers, and others who are in charge of finding motivational speakers, they are looking for the value beyond the stage time.

These professionals do not mind paying the speaking fee, but they want to be sure that the speaker does not just show up, speak, and leave. They want the speaker to be engaged in the whole conference: attending dinners, happy hours, eating meals with the attendees, and helping out where they can make an impact.

For me this is great. I always want to participate in my client's event. It is through meeting the people in the audience and engaging in conversations that I am able to customize my presentations on the fly. At a conference last weekend I re-wrote the last ten minutes of my presentation by quoting other speakers, board members and panelist who spoke earlier in the conference. I also added photos from the conference into my PowerPoint and shared stories of experiences that I witnessed attendees having at the resort (and how this added to their own networking experiences in bonding with each other). We were at The Atlantis Resort in The Bahamas, and I watched several of the people go on the huge "Leap of Faith" water slide (or chicken out at the last second!), and these stories added direct value to my presentation beyond just showing up and delivering a canned talk for my assigned 90 minutes.

On the flip side, I currently work with a vendor who never adds value beyond the services that I have paid for in my contract. It is frustrating, as I want to be able to refer vendors who go beyond just being a service provider. I want those with whom I do business to be part of my extended network. It is hard to become a referral source for those who do not see the relationship as "win/win". No added value means you are not creating the bonds that lead people to become your advocates.

Sure, people are busy, but in today's digital age you cannot forget that the person on the other side is a human being with feelings. You must appeal to their soul if you want them to see you as more than just someone they pay for a service. Busy is never an excuse to forget the importance of making others feel special.

Doing good work is just the ticket to allow you to play in the game. If you take pride in the fact that your company gives what you promise, quit patting yourself on the back. You must go farther if you want to deliver value.

I find that value is often in the little things.

Have A Great Day.


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