Wonderful observations here, Brad. And I wonder about the origins of the word "value," which is driving people to look beyond the mall as you describe.
Thoughts on Word Origins
Ideas about words related to sales and marketing and how they might effect the way I see and proceed with my sales approach.
At our Home Pro's meeting today we talked about a blog I read recently. The blog posting was about an emergence/reemergence of consumer preferences to spend their dollars on more custom products rather than boilerplate homogenous consumer drivel that is available in every mall across the US and 5 people on your block might have the same products in their homes as you. You don’t have to look long and far to witness this either. Look at the local emergence of Farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and other person to person product exchanges. This might suggest that consumers are wanting to have more control of what they put in their homes and in front of their families and are willing to support an economy driven by a primary level of exchange rather than middlemen and uniformity.
This led to a discussion of craftsmanship and I was reminded of a dinner conversation I was part of one time with a psychiatrist friend who was complaining bitterly about the declining quality of craftsmanship in the trades and that there just isn’t the level of “craftsmanship” like there used to be etc. This tirade came up because she recently had a very poorly done remodeling project on her home. She chose the materials and directed the project herself and of course she chose the cheapest contractor she could find and of course it turned out considerably less than what she was expecting both in terms of the design and materials which of course were as cheap as she could find as well. I maintained that "Craftsmanship" is a 3 way marriage between, function, economy and skill but she wasn't buying it or conceding her choices of materials, design and the cheapest contractor might have contributed to her disappointment.
So after our Home Pros meeting today I was curious about the etymology of the word "craftsman" so I dredged up a little history of the origins of the word and as it turns out craeft in old English it has origins relating to “power, physical strength and might”. At some point the word expanded to include notions of, “skill, art, science and talent via notions of mental power which eventually led to the use of “trade, handicraft, and calling. From these definitions I suppose an argument could be made that we are all “craftsmen” of our own worlds but I have been at times virtually gob smacked by the skills required and the time that it takes to sell ourselves as entrepreneurs and small business owners.
So for grins I looked up the origins of the word “sell” while I was cruising for info and its origins from Old English is “to give, hand over or to offer a sacrifice or betray someone to an enemy”. The idea eventually found its way into common usage by c.1000 with meaning to “give up for money” which is probably our relationships to what selling means to us. So perhaps Howard Howell, That Sales Guy is not far off the mark and is correct when he encourages not to sell a product or service but rather ask ourselves what kind of problem can we solve for a prospective client.
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Comment on this article
Posted by Barbara Breckenfeld, Mountlake Terrace, Washington |
Oct 06, 2010
Posted by David Berkey, Edmonds, Washington |
Oct 06, 2010
Brad - you're always thinking. Barb's comment got me doing a little digging on the meaning of "value". The concept of "value" is a social construct. It is defined by each culture, defined by law (consideration), economics (math) and ethics (culture). Hence, within the context of law, particularly with respect to contracts, value is a concept closely related to consideration (get something for something). In mathematics, value applies to a number or set of numbers, which in economics can be exchanged for goods or services (get something for something). In ethics, however, values have more implications to our daily lives. Being part of a culture that shares a common core set of values creates expectations and predictability. Common values provide identity and sense of worth. Therefore, they generate behavior.
In business, it is that ethical value that reigns. It defines the client's perception of value received for money spent. It's what defines what the client perceives to have received in "consideration" of an agreement made (contract), whether implied or not.
So, it comes back to client expectations, what they perceive vs. what is being provided. It comes back to never "over sell and under deliver". It's always best to find out what the client needs and set up reasonable expectations. Being honest with the client, even if it's not what they want to hear because their expectations are too high for what they are spending. Something I'm afraid your friend did not experience, for whatever reason.
A friend of mine, a graphic artist complained to me about the same kind of experience. I blogged about his experience. Others may find it worthwhile reading, as well.
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