The Top 10 Ways to Add Extra Value

Everyone wants the best possible value in every transaction, but each of us defines "value" in different ways. Some customers want the lowest price, while others will place a higher value on reliability, convenience or things like color, popularity (think Pokeman cards!) or durability. The challenge for business is to provide extra value for every customer, at the lowest possible cost of doing business. The following "Top 10" suggestions are particularly suited to service businesses such as coaching or consulting, but can easily be adapted to other environments.

1. "Try before you buy." Give clients a free sample, taste or experience before asking them to commit. This can often be done in groups or teleclasses. Done correctly, it gives you a low-cost opportunity to expose large numbers of potential clients to the value of your service, while giving the potential client a safe, easy way to sample your work.

2. Follow-up after the sale. Much like allowing prospects to sample your work, groups or teleclasses allow you to follow-up, add extra value and potentially sell additional services after the original commitment is over. Many coaches combine these pre- and post- groups into weekly or monthly teleclasses that are open to past clients forever!

3. Client newsletters. Use a weekly newsletter to keep past and current clients informed, add extra insights, techniques, tips and solutions to common problems. Published by email, they are free, and very easy for clients to forward to friends and colleagues, providing you with potential additional marketing. Extra: Insert a quick 1-page newsletter with your monthly billing statement!

4. Let clients share their skills. Invite your clients to share their experiences, their own tips, discoveries and enthusiasm with each other. Host a monthly forum and invite guest speakers. Often a client will have particular expertise or a skill they are willing to share with your other clients either in person or in your newsletter. Everybody wins!

5. Public newsletters. In the "information age", the value of information is rapidly approaching zero, so capitalize on this trend and give away what you know! Display your skills, expertise and wisdom in either electronic form or on paper and invite past and present clients to participate, pass the information along, and provide a marketing forum for your business at the same time. Again, everybody wins!

6. Use your website. Ask your webmaster to add a newsgroup or set up a chat-room on your website. As you develop written material for your clients, post it on your website and make it available to other clients (you can password protect it) or to the general public. Let clients know that your information and experience are available to them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

7. Celebrate with your clients. This ranges from sending flowers or champagne when they win the big contract, to sending birthday cards and holiday greetings. Everyone needs more hugs than we receive, so give your clients recognition whenever possible. Let them know you care.

8. Commiserate with your clients. Sometimes things don't work out well, they lose contracts or miss the big promotion. That's a great time to "gift" an extra session, to pay for the lunch or pick up the tab for the phone calls. Again, it's about caring and building personal relationships that add real value and go far beyond minimum expectations.

9. Use your network for your client's benefit. One of the most astonishing "extras" is to provide your client with the name of the perfect accountant, lawyer, chiropractor or web designer based on your rolodex of contacts. As your team of resources grows, use their combined talents and strengths to make appropriate referrals and put people in contact with each other. This is a huge extra that costs you nothing!

10. Ask your clients what they need. Routinely, ask your clients how you could go further, provide better service and be more effective with them. Almost always, they are delighted to be asked, they know the answer, and the request they make will typically cost you little or nothing to fulfill but will mean the world to that client.

© Copyright 2003 by Philip E. Humbert. All Rights Reserved. This article may be copied and used in your own newsletter or on your website as long as you include the following information: "Written by Dr. Philip E. Humbert, writer, speaker and success coach. Dr. Humbert has over 300 free articles, tools and resources for your success, including a great newsletter! It's all on his website at: http://www.philiphumbert.com

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