Add Perceived Value

December 5, 2017 - 4 minutes read

If you want to know a secret for living well and achieving greater success both personally and professionally, I have one simple and effective tool.

Add perceived value.

There were two candy stores across the street from an elementary school.  When a child ordered a quarter pound of candy from the first store, the employee filled the bag, then poured candy out of the bag until the weight was down to a quarter pound.

At the second store the employees were instructed to put a little candy into the bag, then add more until the desired weight was reached.

Even though each store offered the same candy at the same price, the second candy store thrived.  The first store failed simply because its young customers thought they received more candy (greater perceived value) from the second store – the one that added candy to the bag, rather than taking it away.

This analogy applies well to our lives. I contend that we do not respond to “value.”  Rather, we respond to “perceived value.”  You might buy a dress for $50.00 when it is marked down from $100.00 because it sounds like a good perceived value – fifty percent off the original price.  This is exactly what the seller intended.  But suppose the next day you find the same dress in a different store at the full, not marked down price of $42.00?  Which is the greater “perceived value” now?

“Perceived value,” not merely “value,” is our actual hot button.

When I was a kid, my mom sometimes answered the doorbell to our home to find a vacuum cleaner salesman who walked right in and dumped a sack of dirt on our living room carpet.  He then demonstrated that our old vacuum cleaner couldn’t pick it up, but the new handy-dandy vacuum cleaner he wanted to sell us could easily do the job.  Mom never bought a new vacuum cleaner, but I did develop a dislike for both salesmen and salesmanship.  To my young mind sales meant that you knocked on a hundred doors a day trying to sell a mom something she didn’t want, and you were rejected a lot. I knew that whatever I did later in my life I would never become a salesman.

But I was wrong.  We are all salespersons, all of the time.  We have to sell ourselves every single day – at work, at lunch with a friend, and even, sometimes, to our family.

In your work, I suggest you find your niche. Do something you enjoy, and learn to be good at it.  Then, to really succeed, bring perceived value to your customers, your co-workers, and your boss.  Give them the perceived value they want, consistent with your own values.

And with your friends and family the same rule applies.  Never take them for granted, and always aim to listen carefully and to be helpful.  Listening carefully and being helpful are the two perceived values that each of us can bring to everyone who makes a difference in our lives.

And if you perceive value in this blog, please pass it along to others.



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