Home > Selling Value > Esteem Value – The Subjective Side of Value

Esteem Value – The Subjective Side of Value

by Victor Antonio

Victor Antonio Value Centric Selling Sales consultant and trainer, atlanta georgiaThe term value is very difficult to define since value often times is in the eye of the beholder.  Value is made of up several components that contribute to the overall attractiveness of a product (or service) Value has a Use component defined as how the product is to be used to accomplish a given task.   It also has a Cost component which speaks to material and labor required to create the product.

One component that is always present but rarely discussed is Esteem value.  Esteem value is defined as the subjective value a client attributes to the product that makes them feel good about owning the product.

ford focus esteem value centric selling

Ford Focus

For example, if I were to show you two different cars, a Ford Focus and a Toyota Lexus, which one would you choose?  Which one would you value more?  Before you answer, let me first say that the Use component of value is equivalent.  Both cars can get you from point a to point b.  I should also mention, for the sake of this example, that both cars cost the same to manufacture and use almost identical components. So there is no difference in Use value or Cost value.  So what would drive one to prefer one car over the other holding all other variables (e.g., price, quality, service, etc) constant?   The answer is the Esteem value of the car.

One person would value driving an American car as a source of pride and would therefore choose the Ford Focus.  Or the person may simply buy the Lexus for atheistic (i.e., styling, available colors, interior design, etc.) reasons.  Whether it’s out of national pride or just taste, the buyer will buy the car that will make them feel the most pride of ownership.

Apple is a good example of a product that contains a high Esteem component in the value of the products the company manufactures.   Look at the Macs, iPod or iPhones.  All these products have a Use component (functionality), a Cost component and they most definitely have an Esteem component.  People who own Apple products take pride in showing off their “apple logo” when they flip open their portable laptops.   The white headphone designs used with the iPod is another declaration of pride in ownership.

As a salesman selling high tech products, I was very aware of the Esteem component in our products.  Sometimes it was the ‘slimness or sleekness’ of the chassis design or the variety of colors we offered that turned a client’s head.   Clients took pride in being able to design a system where all the chassis and rack colors matched.  Sound silly?  Not to the network operations manager whose identity was tied to how well he managed his facility and the pride he took in his work when potential clients came for a site visit.

It’s hard to calculate the Esteem component value in any product since the value itself is subjective.  But Product Managers and designers should take note that building value into a product isn’t simply about Use (functionality) and Cost, it’s also about how it will the client feel when they own it; the Esteem component of value.

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Categories: Selling Value
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