- Featured Presentation: How to Not Be a Value Vampire
- Book Recommendation: Blue Ocean Strategy: How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant
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Faith in Focus: How to Add Value
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
Featured Presentation: How to Not Be a Value Vampire
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a some people who actually deliver on their lofty promises. A regular consumer of true sages can reap tremendous benefits. For example, I get tremendous value from podcasters like Andy Stanley, Pat Flynn, Michael Hyatt, and Ray Edwards to name a few. I have also gained life-altering insights from authors and online entrepreneurs such as Dan Miller of 48 Days and Dave Ramsey of Financial Peace University. Whether through blogs, podcasts, courses, webinars, or in-person trainings their words educate and inspire me and thousands of others. For that I am grateful.
Thanks to today’s Information Highway called the Internet anyone cannot grow a tremendous and influential platform. But, herein lies the beauty and curse. Because the gatekeepers are gone, anyone who thinks he or she has something worthwhile and influential to say now has no barrier to stop them. While there are many people with valuable products and services that we become aware of through the Internet, the reality is that a much larger proportion of people are more smoke and mirrors than substance. Life coaches are a dime a dozen. The online world is flooded with e-books that offer little more than a few practical (usually obvious) tips. And, under the auspices of “value”, seemingly everyone is more interested in selling me something or getting me on their email list than having any kind of meaningful relationship. Please tell me why I am interested in their outdated insights, their top tips that are common knowledge, and their indispensable tools that are rusty at best. It sounds crude. But,
Where is the insight?
It may be a little harsh. But, I’ve come to think of many of these purveyors of value vomit as themselves “value vampires” because their ineffective products and services suck the dreams, energy, and too often money from hopeful consumers. Please don’t get me wrong. Most of these people are well-intended. Yes. There are a few rotten apples. But, most are working to build a revenue stream so that they can pursue their own dreams and entrepreneurial pursuits rather than “working for the man”. Others just altruistically hope to make a difference.<
But, here is the big problem. [Tweet “Too many people are being crippled by the dark side of these value vampires”.] I have sat with people who are now jaded by their negative experiences of spending hundreds and often thousands of dollars on paid products and services that they now feel was a complete waste of money. I’ve recently sat down with more than one person who is now suspicious of everything after feeling jilted by a disappointing Mastermind experience. Just a few days ago I spoke with my sister about her “learning experience” of spending hundreds of dollars flying from the East Coast to Chicago for an event that was billed as a great networking experience only to walk away feeling like she got nothing from the experience. Sad stories like these abound.
To reiterate a point, value vampires don’t usually realize how much harm they do. Most simply don’t understand what it really means to offer value. A quick look in the dictionary will inform them that value means “something of great worth”. All of us who promote products and services need to reassess the true worth of what we present to our tribes.
First, we do ourselves and our tribe a favor when we commit to three value principles.
Three Value Principles
- Commit to showing value before selling it (show me how you’ve successfully applied the principles or “innovation” that you suggest. Let me see how it has benefited your tribe through testimonials or other anecdotal experiences)
- Commit to quantifying the value (since the word “valuable” means of great worth, quantify for me how much value you have added to the bottom line of your clients. Quantification isn’t necessarily in monetary terms. For example, it could also be time saved or network expansion)
- Commit to understanding that value must be personal before it is promotional (Value is in the eye of the beholder. You must strive to know my needs well enough to really know what I value or what adds value to me. It isn’t valuable just because you say it is
Second, to avoid being a value vampire, you must understand what value really means. I have developed a five-step framework that assures real value is being offered. I use the VALUE acrostic to help you remember it.
Five-Step Value Framework
- Voice – Help your tribe discover their authentic voice. What message were they born to tell and to whom? Give them the confidence to push themselves out of their comfort zone and maximize the reach of their voice .
- Assets – There are two types of assets that benefit your tribe. First there is helping your tribe recognize the personal strengths they possess. Everyone has strengths. But sometimes these assets are obscured by self-doubt and environmental stressors. You may use a range of tools from personality assessments to simple affirmations to highlight the personal assets that your tribe has. Guide them to how to use their own positive and negative experiences to construct a compelling story that gives them meaning.The second way of highlighting assets is to introduce tools (e.g.,productivity, time management, list building) that help your tribe with an unmet need.
- Listen – Show your tribe how to cultivate a “listening culture”. Of course, you do that first by listening to them. Listening can take several forms. It can be one-on-one conversations, email inquiries, reader surveys, suggestion boxes, or many other formats. The key is that you communicate to your tribe that you want to hear what they need rather than assuming you know. In doing so, you teach your tribe how to themselves be good listeners among those they seek to influence.
- Unique – Help your tribe members identify their unique selling proposition (USP). What makes them standout in a sea of similarity? There are probably many others selling what they are selling. When you help your tribe pinpoint their unique positioning in a crowded marketplace that brings tremendous value. Entrepreneur magazine online offers a couple of ways to help people hone in on their USP: (1) Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and (2) Know what motivates your customers’ behavior and buying decision.
- Endorse – Be willing to endorse the products and services that your tribe members create to your own network. Whether a literal endorsement on a book, an introduction to a gatekeeper, or simple support on social media promotions, endorsement is one of the easiest and most influential means to quickly add value to your tribe. Of course, it goes without saying that you must be comfortable with the quality and content of what is developed before you endorse it. But, openness to endorsement goes a long way.
I feel confident that as you commit to these three value and strive to implement the value framework that your engagement with your tribe will increase and strengthen. People want to know that they matter to you. In the end, that is what real value communicates.
Feel free to leave me a voicemail message with any questions or concerns by going to HaroldArnold.com and clicking “Send Voicemail” on the right side of the screen.
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