Small Business is the cornerstone for our economy[1]. All businesses want to see growth. Growth in a business is more than just Return on Investment (ROI). ROI is used to describe the financial return on any given investment, it is a measurable outcome. VOI or Value on Investment is more difficult to measure. The Value on Investment (VOI) is the intangible assets that contribute heavily to an organization’s performance.[2] Breaking it down further VOI is a marketing definition where you promise to deliver an expected experience of your products and services, a description of what, how and why a product or service is important to a customer.[3] Cathi Hight, President of Hight Performance Group suggests that we substitute the “I” for words  for words like: Value of Information, Value of Influence or Value of Impact. The goal for all businesses is to have repeat customers while attracting new ones. Train your staff to give the ‘value talk’ instead of the ‘sales pitch’.

Value can include:

  • Knowledge
  • Meeting new people / expand business relationships[4]
  • Increase marketing exposure and sales
  • Generate new leads
  • Establish credibility
  • Attract quality employees
  • Grow and become more profitable
  • Build a stronger and more resilient business
  • Tap into networks of peer professionals
  • Have strategic conversations around common business issues
  • Position your business as a market leader
  • Develop and keep talent
  • Give back to the community

Some of the measurements on VOI means that there is less absenteeism, employee morale is higher, increased productivity, lower employee turnover rate.

One way to capture the VOI is by asking your consumers’ specific questions such as:

  • Which sources of information provided by us do you access on a regular basis, and how does it help you or your business?
  • What product or service has best helped you?

Do not be afraid to ask your consumers what product or service they wish you had to offer.  Listen to their feedback and then investigate if you can add the suggestion to your offerings. The key to capturing VOI Statements from consumers is using the language they understand, meaning do not use marketing jargon. These statements can then be used as testimonials.

When you are developing your list of values that you offer to be very careful that you do not mistake a feature for a value. For example, a feature would be that a new car gets XX miles to the gallon. Remember that value is an intangible asset. I recently saw an infographic outlining the value of the time that people spend in a business meeting. Yes, there is a cost associated with having executives and managers sit in meetings. How much money is lost on time when management spends their days in a meeting. Do not get me wrong, meetings are beneficial and if those meetings lead to new partnerships and lead to help with growth then they are a value. If they do not lead to the overall growth and benefit the company then you would need to re-evaluate the amount of time spent in meetings.  One more example, in the marketing industry a feature is that you can promise a reach to xx Number of recipients. A feature is a fact, something you can track and put a number too. A value is not as easy to measure and will often have a long-term result.

By helping customers understand the value of products and services you offer will help increase your ROI through customer retention and growth. I challenge you all to sit down as a team and list the value points you have to offer. Be careful to not just list features, but dig deep to find the value and then start speaking value to your customers.

Cheryl Viola, Executive Director