Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"Value Is Relative And Subjective, So Let's Appeal To That"

In building a business – particularly one where construction, remodeling, or renovation is involved – appealing to the customer’s sense of making our proposal worth their while and therefore justifiable in terms of the investment they need to make to achieve what we are proposing with them, price, quality, and value are important points of discussion.

Regardless of what the product or service happens to be, people generally want value – if even for the most limited of times. If we need to clip two pieces of paper together, and we find a paper clip on the desk that we didn’t really have to seek or spend any time looking for, it did the job for us, didn’t cost any more than what already had been paid, and it was a good value. If it was just used that one time and then discarded, it still did what we needed it to do.

Value is extremely subjective. Something has more value as we desire it, and less as we don’t need it as much or at all. Apparent value can change as our needs and requirements change.

Take coffee (or any other grocery item). If coffee normally sells for $10 for a particular sized container, and we can find the same or comparable quality coffee for $5, that would be a great value. On the other hand, if we don't drink coffee, only buy it occasionally, prefer a different brand, or our pantry is already full with enough coffee for our needs, there is little to no value associated with the discounted price. We wouldn't likely buy it at any price.

Value also is relative.

While we think we can give a consumer all of the reasons they should make a decision (based on why we think something is a good investment for them, why our research or assessment demonstrates or suggests that it is, or why it appears to meet their expressed needs), those reasons may seem hollow or like information dumping if they don’t agree with our proposal or aren't looking for those features.

If someone has been out in the sun for a few hours, a cold drink (of most anything) would be quite valuable to them. Likewise, after a feast, additional food is of little interest or value.

We musts be quite careful in discussing quality and value – it’s not as if we are the only ones who claim to provide this. In fact, nearly anyone who delivers a product or service who make such a claim. This is why using those two terms is somewhat meaningless since they are severely overworked and overused and they are subjective to the person (in our case, the client) making the determination about what is presented to them.

We want people to feel that we have given them the best possible solution for their needs based on their budget, time frame to have it accomplished, length of time they likely need the improvement to last, features it offers, and general appearance. There may be other determining factors as well, such as color, style, finish, brand, or model that may contribute to someone’s overall enjoyment of a solution of feeling of a quality product.

Let’s minimize how we describe something as having “quality” or of being a great “value” and instead focus on meeting the needs of our clients. Let them be the judge of how good we have interpreted and then meets their needs.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.