Value is not Black and White, it is Shades of Grey
Best Practice Advice & Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Strategic Issues & Value Proposition

Value is not Black and White, it is Shades of Grey

September 28, 2018

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

At the most basic level “Value” can easily be defined:

Value is Benefits less Costs.


That simple definition doesn’t highlight the enormous range of definitions for “Benefits” though, which is why trying to understand what value is results in everyone seeing a different shade of grey.


The range of possible benefits that client’s perceive would include:

  • price
  • convenience
  • satisfaction, or happiness
  • achievement of a particular outcome
  • creating direction & clarity, or the removal of doubt
  • making better use of existing resources
  • saving time


The list could go on of course, and complicating the perception of “value” is that for most customers most of the time the “benefit” is actually a package of benefits – it is a number of individual benefits added together.  The value is more often in the bundling of benefits, rather than a single dominant perceived benefit.


It is no wonder then that  many advisers struggle to articulate “value” in a way that makes sense to customers.


One of the key steps to being able to articulate your professional value to customers is to understand the shades of grey that a customer might see.


No magical marketing slogan or strong customer value proposition can really be created without first understanding what the benefits are that you can create and which customers will value.  Those benefits are many and varied, and will carry different weightings in different peoples minds.  Until you identify as many of those shades grey that constitute “benefits” you cannot get close to articulating the “value” you create in a way that appeals to a prospective customer.


Professional services clients rarely see value in absolute black and white, and nor can we as service providers.  By better understanding what an individual customer wishes to achieve and what is valuable to them we are able to articulate value as a bundle of benefits which is meaningful to that individual.  That is powerful!


You might also be interested in this related article:
What Are You Really Selling In Professional Services?
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