By Andrew Neitlich


By Andrew Neitlich

In the last blog post, a great discussion ensued about how to define value. The responses were great, and I have only one thing to add. It’s a visual way of picturing value, and at least two books (Sandler’s You Can’t Teach a Kid to Rid a Bike at a Seminar and Rackham’s SPIN Selling) use it.

Think of value as a scale, one of those old-fashioned balancing scales, like the scale of liberty.

One one side are your fees. Imaging that the scale starts off with your fees weighing down the left side of the scale. Nothing is on the right.


The right side of the scale can be one of two things. First, it can be the cost of the problem (or the pain) to your prospect. Your job is to ask great questions so that the prospect comes to the conclusion that their problem is costing them way more than your fees. What’s it costing them to not have a website, or to have a sub-optimal website? As you ask questions or (sparingly) present facts/figures, gradually the balance of the scale shifts, until it is clear that the cost of the prospect’s problem exceeds your fees to solve the problem. That’s value.

Alternatively, you can think of the right of the scale as benefits. Once you show that the benefits of your solution far outweigh your fees, you have demonstrated value.

In both cases, the posts to the last blog did a fine job explaining how to do this.

In a former life, when I was a management consultant, we tried hard to show — even guarantee — that we could generate $10 for every $1 we charged in fees. That was our way of demonstrating value, and we were pretty good at keeping our promise.

So when you sit down with a prospect, have the visual of a scale in your head. As you ask questions, get a sense of whether the scale is tipping or not. If you can’t make the scale tip, you probably won’t get the job.

  • pdxi


    Thank you for explaining this so well. I’ve tried to explain this same concept to many other people, but you did a much better job here!

  • codescribbler

    Thanks Andrew,

    As a new MBA student at a top school, I am surprised how many of my classmates don’t understand the difference between “improving value” and “reducing the price.” Everytime we encounter complaints of high prices in a case, they want to reduce them without considering how the value perception can be improved.

    Hear, hear!

  • dleal

    Thank you, Andrew, and thank you to everybody who did an effort to enlighten me (ccdesigns, ptpnewmedia, whitestorm). You’ve all been extremely helpful.



Get the latest in Entrepreneur, once a week, for free.