How the Toilet can Teach You Everything You Need to Know About Value

I was alone with my 18 month old and had to take a shower. I was late to an event. It was going to be a quick shower, but not taking one wasn’t an option. I knew if I couldn’t keep her busy, she would pound on the shower door crying.  Traditionally, when I’m in this situation, I take her in the shower with me.  This time, I just didn’t have enough time.

To keep her busy, I decided to give her my iPhone. She is wiz on it and it keeps her busy for a long time.  (that would be kid time, 15 min max)  As I was heading to the bathroom, kid in one hand and iPhone in the other, I started playing this situation out in my head.  I asked myself, what could she do while I was in the shower that could be disastrous. It quickly came to me. The biggest catastrophe, beyond drinking the bleach under the sink, cutting herself with my razor, or licking the toilet brush, all of which happen slowly and I could react to, was her dropping my phone in the toilet.  As the slow-motion vision of my phone dropping into the bowl played out in my head, I quickly realized this plan was not a good one.

In spite of the vision of my phone falling into a dirty toilet bowl, I knew I had to keep her busy and the phone was my best option. As I was about to embrace this risk, it occurred to me, I could give her my iPad.  — So that’s what I did.

My iPad fits into the bowl just as easy as the iPhone. The fate of my iPad was just as ominous.  My iPad costs more than my iPhone, twice as much. Therefore, why was risking my iPad more acceptable then drowing my iPhone in the toilet?  I CAN live without my iPad. I can’t live without my iPhone.

My iPad costs 4x more than my iPhone.  Yet, I value my iPhone far more than my iPad. It was a no brainer. Flush the iPad, but whatever happens don’t flush my iPhone.

Traditionally, we’ve been taught there is a tight relationship between price and value. The higher the price, the higher the value. My toilet tells me this isn’t necessarily true. Although value and price correlate, it is not a golden rule.

As sales people, our success depends on getting to the value of our services. It’s not uncommon for us to correlate the value our prospects see to the price they are willing to pay, this is a mistake.

There are a number of ways to measure value and cost is only one.  My iPad cost 4x more than my iPhone. But if my kid is gonna flush one of the two down the toilet, the iPad wins everytime.  Value is subjective. Value varies based on the person.  To be successful sales people we need to figure out what our customers and prospects wouldn’t want flushed down the toilet and what they be OK watching spin.  It will make a difference in making your numbers.


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