What does this “Picasso Napkin” story mean to you?

Picasso is at a cafe, chilling with his friends, when someone points to his used napkin and asks:

” Can you draw an ear on this napkin?” Picasso complies.

” Can you draw an eye somewhere on this napkin?” Picasso complies again.

” How about a mouth?” Picasso obliges, again.

” Now sign the napkin for me.”

Picasso says: “Sure. That’ll be $25,000!”

” $25,000??? But, it only took you two minutes to draw them!” complains the guy.

” Yes, but it took me 25 years for my signature to be worth something,” replies Picasso wittingly.

If you’re smiling, is it because you identify with the guy asking, Picasso or both?

I’m not close to Picasso’s talent but I do appreciate that just because something looks simple doesn’t negate the many hours dedicated toward honing necessary skills… in fact the simplicity is often the hallmark of true, disciplined, practiced talent.

Here’s another twist… how simple is it for others to connect to the value you bring them and their goals?

In our professional spheres, as technicians and/or artists, business owners and leaders, knowing and articulating the valuable outcome your services/products bring are essential to getting the promotion, contracts with the right clients and fees–getting what you are worth.

What’s the emotional payoff of knowing your value?

Empowerment. Empowerment to be your best authentic self. When you know you’re valuable you have courage to stand out and lift up others. You also have the ability to walk away and the freedom to recognize when there is misalignment. Whatever happens you know you brought your best self.

In this article…

You’ll get 5 step to articulate your value to potential clients in a compelling way – AND you’ll reap the emotional payoff too!

Let’s keep it simple…

1— Define your value using business outcomes.

Never-ending is your value story. Why? Because you are always learning and updating. You’re getting feedback from your clients with stories of significant changes to their business since working with you because you’re checking in with them periodically.

For example, you’re helping a client develop more assertive communication skills. They tell you their skill level on a scale of 0-10  is 5. After working with you they share they are at a 9. That’s a 40% increase! This same person shares they had the confidence to assert themselves in a salary negotiation and got a 25% raise. Additionally this client got public praise during a company town meeting from an important project manager who appreciated the initiation this client took to communicate project updates daily!

Those are tangible business results which make a value statement come alive for business prospects or your yearly review.

2— Have fun with numbers.

You can quantify anything. Nothing is more appealing than improvement demonstrated by numbers. Did you notice the numbers in the example above? Even “soft” services like building communication skills can be translated into valuable business results.

Tangible results are valued. Make the intangible tangible. How are your products/services going to help your client increase, decrease or reduce? What will be faster or slowed down as a result of your contribution?

Use the business language of increase/decrease, faster/efficient, more/less and attach some meaningful numbers.

It will bring some additional interest to your value story! 😉

3— Go back and ask for feedback. Keep your mindset focused on learning rather than performing. 

This is a work in progress. It isn’t a performance, it’s a masterpiece in the making. You’re not going for perfection… you’re really happy for progress. Excellent!

Think about your past customers/clients. If you don’t have this information, invite them for a quick 20 minutes and consider asking the following:

1. What were the three most important benefits you received as a result of our product/work together?
  – Why were these valuable to your organization?
  – What cost/time savings did you realize?
        2. You said that working with me enabled you to reduce/increase ___.
                 – Why was that important to you?
                 – How would you quantify its value?
                 – What other areas in your business/company received benefits because of our work together?
        3. How have things been better since we worked together?
                 – How would you quantify the value of these improvements?
You’re tuning into the various problems your customer/client presented with and how your services/product helped them solve those problems. You’re thinking about the business impact. You’re identifying specific value statements (with numbers) to show your value using business terms.

4— Know what you value and increase your self-value

Do some self-reflection. Identify your fundamental values and goals that underlie your career and personal life decisions.That’s your bigger picture which makes all the work you’re doing meaningful.

If or when you’re feeling resistant to the disciplined schedule of daily tasks review your goals. As one business owner shared, he created daily feedback (metrics) for each of his business building tasks and makes needed changes to reach his goals for increased conversations, sales and subscribers.

Interestingly, when you feel devalued or powerless, the best remedy is to do something that makes you feel more valuable. Sharing kindness, compassion and love for 20 minutes will most likely increase your self-value. And by the way, you don’t have to wait for a negative feeling… go ahead and schedule the kindness, compassion and loving behaviors of tutoring a kid, sharing your garden fresh tomatoes and/or volunteering at an animal shelter.

The upshot is YOU are your best testimonial to knowing and articulating your value because you practice it daily!

So powerful!

5— Fake it ’til you become it.

That’s right, not fake it ’til you make it… fake it ’til you become it. Listen, read and/or watch Amy Cuddy’s stuff. She has her own story which is inspiring. Here’s her popular TED talk: Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are.

Dr. Cuddy suggests you do the 2 minute power pose (think Wonder Woman) prior to going into an important interview or really important anything. This is the brain science of raising your testosterone hormones and lowering the stress hormone cortisol, that is, connecting to your personal power and being present. She describes the body language of touching your throat or head, crossing your legs and basically folding inwards with a bowed head as collapsing body language traits to change because they do  take away from your personal power.

Take her message with you and play it in your mind when you feel like quitting or that you’re just not suppose to succeed at engaging clients with your value stories. Do you hear it?

You are NOT quitting… You are going to fake it. You are just going to do it and do it and do it.

The truth is figuring out your value story and connecting with decision makers who can hire you to achieve positive business outcomes is a lot of hard work. Making it sound simple is not so easy!

Do it enough (define, refine and articulate your value) until you actually become it and internalize it (a value-articulating machine) .


The takeaway…

Be able to authentically articulate your value to potential clients/customers by defining your value in business outcomes, quantifying those outcomes with numbers, asking for specific business-related feedback, living and working according to your values and persevering until you’re simply excellent at articulating your value to others.

Keep it simple sweetheart.

I want to ask, just for fun… what’s your signature worth?

Let’s talk value and strategies for your business and/or career transition/climb. Contact me today.