On Adding Value



There  is something very unique to visiting a salon, restaurant, store or whatever.  The sights, sounds and smells are indelible to our experience: making up the greater sum total that will either hang on in our memories, or be tossed aside as quick as possible, lest the acrid taste takes hold; allowing them to frame the body of our opinions, both pro and con.

Taken at face value we have an already set opinion of what to expect when visiting an establishment.  These are not added values, but rather, expectations.   We expect to get a good haircut.  We expect to enjoy our food.  We expect to find what we wish to purchase.  An added value is something wholly different from expectation.  An added value is the unexpected made normal.

  • Once, upon a return to a restaurant I had visited for the first time months earlier, the bartender poured me the wine I had previously enjoyed and correctly brought the appetizer I craved… Unprompted.

This is but one small token of added value.  But small change can add up to big emotional returns, and its that emotion that we are after.  The one that makes us feel good.  Makes us happy.  Makes us come back for more.

Every premise for doing business should begin by asking “what is the emotional return”?  By not asking that question a business risks, at the least, not truly connecting with their clients.  The business is simply relying on what its own and clients built-in expectations already are.  But what is going to separate that business from others if they simply keep doing what is expected of them?  Having a skill or an item that has proved popular in a singular sense: “I cut hair and have many clients” or “this product is so popular, I am going to open a storefront”; does not automatically translate into success multiplied.  

Many businesses already tap into client’s feelings without even really thinking about it in such terms. You only have to  look at how a product is marketed and displayed to understand that the enticements strike at our very desire to smell, hold and possess.  And you only need to be ignored by a store associate once to understand the power a negative emotion has over us.

After finding that emotional driver, you can build on it by adding value.  Indeed, many would argue that adding value is commensurate with keeping up with your competition also applying similar techniques (when your competitor also serves a glass of wine, you uptick to a complimentary mini-bite menu taste).  

But there is also the unspoken added value that comes with every good hire.  The intangibles that create connections beyond expectation.What of the others on your salon, store or restaurant team?  Are these support crews able to carry the weight of emotions needed for success?  Do they have the same drive or connection and, more important, did you create a blueprint for duplicating that emotional success?  Scripting and role-play are necessary undertakings to creating a successful team.  Far too often a business leaves the personal interactions to each individual, relying on their own sense and ability to connect and, while it is important to nurture a personal and individualized touch, a framework must be set to ensure the culture and identity you want to bring to your customers is truly yours.  These are not easily answered questions, and most do not ask them, but they must be addressed for success to truly flourish.


  • Once, while shopping for a new computer, the sales person talked me out of purchasing what I wanted by arguing that my needs would be better met with a different product at a third of the cost.

I can no longer shop at another store.  My emotions won’t allow it.


For more thoughts on things, please read my other blog posts.

Scott can be found in San Francisco, San Diego and just about anywhere needed.  To book an appointment, or for a consult, email me here!