Each year I ask thousands of Executives two key questions when it comes to value creation:

  • How many of you connect face to face with your customers at an executive level?
  • How many of you do it as often as you know you should? 

In any audience, about half the hands go up for the first question. Less than 10% of the hands are still up after the second. And if you can get a leg up on this, you’re going to differentiate yourself from your competitors, lock in customer loyalty and retention, and skyrocket growth, because one of several purposes of having executive-level meetings with your customers – what I call Value Creation Conversations – is to uncover what customers really value about doing business with you, and then learn how to capture that value in the way you price.

For example, a kitchen cabinet manufacturer found out, the hard way, that one of the things his customers really valued was door-to-door delivery using company trucks. The regular drivers got to know the local installers and were often willing to lend a helping hand offloading the cabinetry in the right order so that installation was easier. Point-to-point also meant no offloading (and therefore, possible damage) along the way – a huge hidden bonus that only came to light when a new COO decided to cut costs by using commercial carriers.

Commercial carriers use a hub-and-spoke model where orders were on-and-off loaded several times en route to their destination. Damage claims went through the roof and the finger pointing started between the carrier, the installer, and the manufacturer. Meanwhile, the customer was left with damaged cabinetry that couldn’t be installed, with a major impact on construction schedules and customer satisfaction. Commercial drivers had little incentive to build the manufacturer’s brand by lending that extra helping hand, and small installers often ended up struggling on their own to move boxed cabinets dumped in the driveway into the home.

Would YOU pay a little more for a smooth, seamless, no hassle experience?  Most customers will. So get out from behind your desk and find out what they love and hate about doing business with you and your competitors, then deliver the love… and price for it.  That’s value creation. You’ll often find they value something you’ve been taking for granted, and that’s just the boost you need to tweak your pricing in a way that has a great impact on your bottom line.

What’s the most unusual or unexpected thing you ever found that your customers value about doing business with you?

#1 Bestselling Author, International Speaker, and Accelerator Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more – in less than one year, in less time per week than they’re spending on email per day. Her new book Profit in Plain Sight includes the 5-step proactive P.R.O.F.I+T Plan to do it.  Connect with Anne on Twitter and LinkedIn.