Understanding your value in business starts with valuing yourself as a human being. This is because before you’re an accountant, lawyer or a financial adviser, you are first and foremost a human being – and so are your clients. It’s so easy to get caught up in facts, figures and processes and forget that when you provide a service, the human element is probably by far the greatest reason why your clients use you, no matter what service you offer.
It’s the old adage of people buying from people who they know, like and trust. This is borne out by my own findings too: I work with accountants, lawyers and financial advisers and the ones who are most successful are not necessarily the ones who are the most technically competent; it’s actually those who have the best ‘bedside manner.’ Of course, I’m not suggesting for one moment that you don’t need technical competence; you do naturally need to be at a certain level. However, the human touch is what makes the real difference to the client. Of course, if you can combine the two, you’ll be dynamite!
A great example of this is a family lawyer who I recently worked with. He’s a really nice guy and I can understand why clients would be comfortable working with him. However, he really didn’t understand his own value at all. He was discounting fees for no apparent reason and doing extra work without charging – two of the classic behaviours that service providers can easily fall into if they don’t work on understanding their value. One of the biggest light bulb moments he had was when I helped him understand that part of what he gives his clients is actually emotional support. By taking on their “problem”, whether it be divorce, sorting out finances or child-related, he is shouldering the burden on their behalf. He had never given that any thought whatsoever. So now, when he reflects on the value he’s creating by doing a particular piece of work for a client, he includes the emotional element in the mix.
When reflecting on understanding your value, you may wish to make use of the following three steps:
1) Remember to contemplate the blood, sweat and tears that you have put in to acquire your knowledge and experience.
2) Consider any hurdles you had to overcome. Were they physical, mental or emotional? What did you have to do to overcome them?
3) Work out how long it took you to feel really competent at what you do. What did it cost you in time? In money? Do you continually improve yourself?
For my part, there has been much blood, sweat and tears and many hurdles to overcome. In fact, I’m still in the process of releasing limiting beliefs, discovering who I really am, how I would like to operate not only in my business but also in my private life. I’ve spent a fortune both in terms of time and money on my own personal development so that I can be the best me I can be and therefore create fantastic value for my clients. Self-improvement is an important part of my life and I will continue to learn, grow and develop for as long as I live.
If you too are committed to self-improvement, you must realise that understanding your value is not something you can do in 5 minutes, it’s not even something you can do just once in your business life. It should become a regular feature so that you can make sure that you are creating value for your clients and therefore charging accordingly. And do always remember that, as I wrote at the very beginning of this article, first and foremost you are a human being!
If you have any questions in relation to this article, please contact me on 01202 743961 or 07957 672335 or visit my Contact Vanessa Page to book your complimentary True Worth Strategy Session.