I have a number of role models in my life and there is one in particular that trumps them all in terms of positive influence. So often this influence has not come from what he has purposely said but from the actions he takes, the values he holds and sometimes just a passing comment with huge hidden meaning. I am talking about one of the best storytellers I know, My Dad!
Last week I was delivering an event for my Academy members when the conversation lead to a discussion around pricing and the value attached to your work. The particular challenge came about from trying to demonstrate the value of your expertise and when you are in an advice-based business how you charge for that expertise.
When posed with this challenge my memory instantly served me with my first living memory of such a scenario. Although I have been told several story’s since that illustrate a similar point, it was the story presented to me as a 14 year old boy that has definitely served me best.
Dad has been working as a building and roofing contractor for over 35 years and based on the hundreds of happy customers, it would suggest he is pretty good at it. During that period he has gathered a wealth of knowledge and prides himself on achieving solutions for things that others say cannot be done.
It was probably in 1996 when Dad arrived home from work one day and we started chatting and he was telling me about a job that he had just returned from in the center of London.
Dad had received a call the day before from a troubled gentleman who was in a state of worry and panic as he had a severe leak in his roof resulting in a large amount of water entering his property. Fortunately the rain had stopped and there were no signs of further rain , it was agreed that Dad would visit the property and assess the situation the very next day.
He visited as promised, to be greeted by the homeowner who decided to inform my father about the 2 previous companies who had just visited and told him that the roof was beyond repair and the only option was for a new roof and presented him with prices in excess of £10,000. Dad replied by stating that until he had assessed the situation he could not comment but would grab his ladders, scale the roof and see what could be done.
Three or Four minutes later Dad came down the ladder, Knocked the front door and shared his findings with the homeowner. He advised him of some good news, he had isolated the leak and could repair it on the same day for him, the remainder of the roof was in a fair condition and he would guarantee his work for a further 12 months. He could complete the repair immediately for him, he would be watertight asap and all for a fee of Just £600.
Understandably the homeowner was delighted with my Dads recommendations and instructed the work immediately. He then offered Dad a cup of tea to which, like all builders, he was happy to accept. Whilst the tea was being made, Dad grabbed some tools from the van, climbed the ladder and went about his work. 15 minutes later he came down from the roof and was greeted with his hot drink.
He was then asked how he was getting on, to which my Dad replied, “Its finished, the roof is now watertight and shouldn’t cause you any further issues for a fair few years”. The Homeowner was puzzled and then took offence to my Dads request for payment, suggesting that the price quoted was excessive for the time spent.
At this point my Dad responded with the words “ I am really sorry, perhaps I have not explained myself right, Yes it only took me minutes to complete the repair, however it has taken me over 25 years to gain the knowledge required to find the leak and then know how to repair it, Its my experience you are paying for and not my time” At which point the homeowner saw the value and happily paid the agreed sum.
This lesson has continued to serve me in countless scenarios. It is our responsibility to educate our customers to the value we bring. Please remember that value can only be identified when your offer is contrasted with an alternative. In my Dads story his repair offered massive value when compared to the cost of a new roof. What are your products and services being compared to and how can you better position the value that you deliver?