Our biggest challenge is to communicate our value so that our fee seems irrelevant when compared to the saving or the upside.
Today I am going to share with you a very powerful way to communicate value.
I am in Nelson playing cricket, but the game is called off because there is rain, lots of rain. So Julia and I decide to go shopping.
We see a department store which suddenly has umbrellas in front of the checkout counter – very smart.
There are the $20 umbrellas that look fine and then there are the $120 Brunt Umbrellas. I look at both and figure they will both do the same job, besides I know we will probably lose either one before long … so we are better to lose the $20 version.
Then I see the signs about Brunt Umbrellas beside me. Seems Brunt has solved the problem of ‘failing umbrellas.’ How wonderful, I put on my marketing hat and review their life saving technology.
On a second stand, I see a range of icons referring to various aspects of the Brunt ingenuity (see below).
It turns out we can reuse, reuse and reuse their umbrellas because they do not break. They have been designed to last in wind tunnels and these little beauties are guaranteed around the world for superior performance.
It must be true because each of these ‘features’ has an icon which fully legitimizes their claims. Who would create an icon unless it was a feature that the other umbrella manufacturers are seething in jealousy about?
I pick up the Brunt and can feel the quality, sturdy and strong, made from top quality materials. I can literally smell the difference.
Now I pick up the $20 umbrella and wave it around. Flimsy, weak and breakable. But 6x the price, I now need justification.
My first attempt is weak … What if I get into a fight? The Brunt is like a sword – sturdy enough to fend off a would-be attacker and save my life.
Logic takes over briefly. I could have 6 cheap umbrellas for the same price and lose one umbrella a year for six years before I need a new one.
Just then I see the tube the Brunt comes in. A long black tube which looks important. The special tube says ‘The World’s Best Umbrellas.’ Who doesn’t want the world’s best umbrella? Finally, on the tube it has more icons, they are:
- Icon #1 RTS™ High tension canopy
- Icon #2 Aerodynamic handling
- Icon #3 Safety tips
- Icon #4 Storm resistant
- Icon #5 Force 11 wind tunnel tested
- Icon #6 5mm fiberglass ribs
- Icon #7 Approved 38 point check
- Icon #8 Global 2 year warranty
How can I defend against so many icons?
Obviously I decide I like the Brunt. Quality, built to last and will make me feel more professional. You cannot put a price on that. But without the education and evidence (icons) I would not have purchased the Brunt.
‘People buy on emotion and justify with logic’
That is just as true for architects as it is for umbrellas, so while I wanted the Brunt I still needed the proof to justify to myself I was making a smart decision. While I didn’t have a board to convince I still had myself and the semi scientific icons gave me permission to say ‘oh phooey to flimsy umbrellas, I will take the scientifically tested, proven and guaranteed premium version.’
And so I did.
Three months later I have used the umbrella once, but, boy, did it perform well.
The lesson here is this.
Icons make a feature or benefit seem real, legitimate, official and unique to you.
- Create a logo for each of your offers (Ask the Expert, LCC, Dream team)
- Create an icon for some of the best features within each of those services.
Whoever tells the best story wins.
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