Your business has to provide transformation, not just a transaction.

I will never forget when my business coach asked a young 20-something me what my clients get when they work with me. Young, inexperienced, and prideful, I said, “My time.” I’ll never forget the way they looked at each other shaking their heads and re-explaining the question. Obviously, young, new Olivia, the PR baby, didn’t get it, so now I’m going to explain it to you.

I was thinking about a transactional approach in a way – there is a resource exchange where you give me something precious that I want, and I’ll give you something precious that you want. Now, I will say my full understanding of what I was delivering, the service itself, and communication that was not yet fully developed, so this was not even a good view of transactional as it were. Pero, this is the base of what it looks like.

What they were really asking me was, on the other side of our business interaction, what transformation does your client get? What new value will they receive that gets them closer to who or what they want to be and will change in their business now? It’s all about who they become or begin imagining themselves to be.

When you put on Nikes, are you a world-class athlete? Nope, not unless you are actually a world-class athlete, but what you’re being sold is still more than a shoe; it’s a thought process, a vision, and a feeling. You are buying alignment, and the satisfaction of feeling like you are one of the greats in the making. Why? Because the greats use Nike. This is a transformation. Yes, there is the function that the shoe may offer you in that you can comfortably jump higher and run longer (not me, though, my feet are too wide for Nike, but I love their brand work. chef’s kiss), but there is an emotional energy that is attached to that swoosh and the name Nike (the goddess of victory in Greek mythology) that you want to absorb and embody.

When you are selling your product or service, in order to make your brand part of the customers’ life and even their sense of being, it has to offer more than functional benefits but an emotional and transformative connection that gives them more hope to be closer to the self that they envision themselves as.

Let’s stop looking just to transact and instead get clear on what transformation we’re creating in our clients’ lives.

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