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What a Six-Year-Old Can Teach You About a Value Conversation

If you have a six-year-old in your life, whether your own child, or in my case, grandchildren, they have much to teach you. They’ll unabashedly tell you that, too.

As young children grow and become increasingly curious about the world around them, they ask a lot of questions. A LOT of questions.

Those questions generally start with “why,” and they come one right after another, with little if any pause. Here’s one example from my life:

“Why do you always drive?”

“Because Mimi [their grandmother] prefers it that way.”


“Because Mimi would rather I drive.”


“Because I’m better with directions than she is.”


“You’re going to get me in trouble.”


. . . and so on.

A study from the University of Michigan found that preschoolers ask “why” questions not because they want to annoy the crap out of you, but because they are eager for explanations of how the world works. Everything that’s assumed for us adults is brand new for us, and we want to understand why things are the way they are.

They are intensely curious.

In my work with professional services providers, a common problem I've found with their client engagement, both before and after the relationship begins, is that they don’t ask enough “why” or “how” questions.

They simply aren’t curious enough.

There hasn’t been a value conversation that is not only deep but ongoing. A conversation that explores the hopes, needs, goals, and fears–not just the tangible but the intangible as well–of that client.

And when it comes time to craft engagement options for a prospect, they realize they don’t have enough knowledge of that client to do it well. As they think about how they can deliver more value to an existing client, they realize they haven’t had a substantial value conversation with that client in quite a while, if at all.

Has this happened to you? I thought so, because it’s happened to all of us, including me.

You don’t have to be annoying, but you must maintain genuine and yes, even childlike curiosity, as well as a kind tenacity in following up on that desire to understand.

The problem with a lot of attempts service providers make at impactful value conversations is that they just aren’t curious enough. They short-circuit a value conversation in order to pivot toward their own service offering, or in the case of existing clients, get to the next task.

And when that happens, they are short-circuiting their ability to best maximize the value either a prospect or client most needs to receive.

And their pricing suffers.

Image created using Craiyon (Formerly DALL-E Mini)

(This blog post was also posted on LinkedIn.)

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me: I help solo or small professional services firm owners with the confidence and positioning necessary to improve their pricing and change the trajectory of not only their business but their life.

I have a podcast called The Price and Value Journey, which features interviews with industry leaders and audio versions of my blog posts. You can find the podcast on your favorite podcast app.

I also have a book coming out in 2023: The Price and Value Journey: Raise Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices to Grow Your Business Using The Generosity Mindset.

For more information, go to


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