Why Clients Value Us: A Live Example
An answer to a question I asked a podcast guest is an example of why clients value us as professional services providers. The answers they give to that question might surprise us. (The complete podcast episode from which the audio clip we used is taken can be found here.)
John Ray: [00:00:00] Hello again. I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey.
John Ray: [00:00:05] One of the podcasts that I produce is Business Beat. It’s sponsored by top 50 CPA firm, Frazier & Deeter. Roger Lusby, who’s the partner in charge of the Alpharetta office of Frazier & Deeter hosts the show and I sit alongside him. Now, a few years ago, we had a show in which Roger invited a long-term client of the firm, Chuck Walker, to talk about the growth and success of his company, Chemlink Laboratories. Near the end of the interview, I asked Chuck about his relationship with Frazier & Deeter and how that relationship had contributed to his firm’s success. Listen in.
John Ray: [00:00:47] During this time, you’ve had this long-term relationship with Roger and Matt, other folks at Frazier and Deeter, so you talked about the value of having great outside counselors and advisors like Frazier & Deeter, talk a little more specifically about how they’ve been helpful to you.
Chuck Walker: [00:01:06] Well, I’ve been with Roger since well before 1984.
Roger Lusby: [00:01:12] A long time.
Chuck Walker: [00:01:12] Long time before that, ’81, ’82. And what I found in dealing with Roger, we’re both like younger then, number 1, but we had a lot of things in common. We both love baseball. We both like to talk sports. But then, as you could tell by hearing Roger on the phone, very calming effect. So, you would call Roger, “My gosh, we’re here”. “Okay, Chuck. Okay, Chuck, let’s walk through this step by step, by step.” And of course, he knew a lot more than I did about what the problems would be and how we would handle them, and that’s how it grew over the years. And then, in fact, Roger took me to the sixth game of the 1995 World Series, and we sat there, we had dinner, we watched the Braves win, they were only-
Roger Lusby: [00:01:59] Tom Glavine, one hitter.
Chuck Walker: [00:01:59] Tom Glavine and just as he hit the homerun. But sometimes, you talk to Roger, if you don’t even come away with anything, when you get off the phone, you’ve calmed down, but in most instances, you come away with things, you come away with solutions, or “Here’s what I suggest”, and that’s been a huge, huge help asset.
Roger Lusby: [00:02:19] Well, thank you, Chuck.
John Ray: [00:02:22] Okay. So, what were the first couple of things that came to mind for Chuck as he thought about his relationship with Roger and Frazier & Deeter? What were the first couple of things that came up in the heat of the moment? Well, Chuck could have mentioned Roger’s degrees or his many years of experience. He could have mentioned the firm’s many areas of expertise which he can draw on. He could have mentioned the fact that Frazier & Deeter is a Top 50 accounting firm. But none of those attributes got mentioned. He did get around to mentioning the solutions and the outcomes that Roger and his firm helped deliver for him, but that’s not how he led off the answer to my question. What was the first answer? It was baseball.
John Ray: [00:03:12] Well, with that answer, I think what Chuck was addressing was the relationship he enjoyed with Roger. Now, I suspect that for Chuck, the mutual love of baseball that he referenced was a symbol of a personal bond, which the two of them had developed. It was more than just going to the World Series together. It was that their conversations and times that they had shared at baseball games, and maybe on the phone talking about baseball, and how the Braves were doing, they were just a reminder for Chuck of the human traits that Roger has, which appealed to Chuck and attracted Chuck to Roger in the first place.
John Ray: [00:03:56] The second thing that Chuck mentioned was Roger’s calming effect, as he called it, when Chuck would call Roger about a business problem. As Chuck clearly indicated, sure, he valued Roger’s advice and counsel over the years, but there was something more. He started by talking about how Roger delivered that advice, and how that delivery, the calming effect of it, was important to him.
John Ray: [00:04:27] This conversation is an illustration of how our clients and prospects have intangible reasons for selecting us initially and for continuing to do business with us. Those intangibles have nothing to do with our degree, certifications, experience, all the things we might default to when we think about why our clients not only buy from us, but continue to do so over the years.
John Ray: [00:04:53] Here’s another thing to remember. Just as every client is unique, client intangibles are unique. To use this example, the intangibles which Chuck mentions for working with Roger, baseball or calming effect, might be totally different than what other clients of Roger’s might mention. So, understanding why a particular client might be interested in doing business with us, might hire us, or might continue the professional relationship, and in turn, justifies the price that they’re willing to pay for our services, all of that requires more than just judging their demographic, or psychographic, or what avatar they are, or some other commoditizing feature that marketers come up with.
John Ray: [00:05:43] That’s where the value conversation comes in, digging into in the initial buying conversation, and then over the years, as the relationship grows and develops, why our clients not only start doing business with us, pay the price they pay, but continue to do so. Digging into those hopes, fears, dreams, those intangibles that drive why the relationship begins and why it continues.
John Ray: [00:06:15] I’m John Ray on the Price and Value Journey. Past episodes of this series can be found on your favorite podcast app or at pricevaluejourney.com. If you’d like to connect with me directly, you can send me a note, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for joining me.
About The Price and Value Journey
The title of this show describes the journey all professional services providers are on: building a services practice by seeking to convince the world of the value we offer, helping clients achieve the outcomes they desire and trying to do all that at pricing which reflects the value we deliver.
If you feel like you’re working too hard for too little money in your solo or small firm practice, this show is for you. Even if you’re reasonably happy with your practice, you’ll hear ways to improve both your bottom line as well as the mindset you bring to your business.
John Ray, Host of The Price and Value Journey
John Ray is the host of The Price and Value Journey.
John owns Ray Business Advisors, a business advisory practice. John’s services include advising solopreneur and small professional services firms on their pricing. John is passionate about the power of pricing for business owners, as changing pricing is the fastest way to change the profitability of a business. His clients are professionals who are selling their “grey matter,” such as attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, consultants, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.
In his other business, John is a Studio Owner, Producer, and Show Host with Business RadioX®, and works with business owners who want to do their own podcast. As a veteran B2B services provider, John’s special sauce is coaching B2B professionals to use a podcast to build relationships in a non-salesy way which translate into revenue.
John is the host of North Fulton Business Radio, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Radio, Nashville Business Radio, Alpharetta Tech Talk, and Business Leaders Radio. house shows which feature a wide range of business leaders and companies. John has hosted and/or produced over 1,300 podcast episodes.