Here’s a question for you: What would you rather have, a million dollars or a glass of water?
Many people would probably take the million dollars. But what if you were stranded on a desert island? Now which would you choose?
Defining value is more complicated than it seems. For most of us, a million dollars is incredibly valuable. But, depending on the situation, a simple glass of water can be priceless. This contradiction is called the paradox of value. Countless economists and philosophers, from Plato to Adam Smith, have attempted to demystify it.
The Paradox of Value
The paradox of value proves that value is different from cost. It’s the notion that the expensive thing isn’t always the most valuable.
So, why is this important to you as an ApplyBoard recruitment partner?
Like the water versus million dollars scenario, value is defined differently by each student you work with and is based on their situation, needs, and goals. Determining what’s valuable to your students, apart from you or ApplyBoard, is the key to a successful working relationship with them.
We’ll explore how to uncover a student’s situations, needs, and goals to learn what they value.
What Is Value?
Value is defined as: “The importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”
As we learned in our example above, value is significantly more complicated than it initially seems.
Consider how you determine the value of something. If cost were the only consideration, a house or car would likely be the most valuable item you could own. Is that actually how you feel? You probably own items that you value above your house or car.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples to illustrate our point. Chances are you use your mobile phone more often and for a wider-range of purposes than your car. Therefore, it follows that you may value it above your car, even though your phone is only worth a fraction of the price. Or, what about that ring that your grandmother left you. Although it’s only costume jewelry, it’s a treasured gift from someone who meant the world to you and can’t be replaced.
Multiple factors determine the value of something, and most have little to do with cost. The same is true for the students you work with. Students make decisions about which schools to apply to based on multiple criteria:
- Is the school located near their friends or family?
- Is the program of study they want available?
- What is the cost of tuition?
- Will they be able to work while they study?
- What is the school’s ranking?
Expanding on the above, some students value the chance to study in a city where they will be close to extended family, or even friends who are already studying there. However, others will choose to enroll in a top-ranked program based on its own merits, even if they don’t have any personal ties to its location.
Knowing more about a student’s decision-making process will help you determine what they value.
How Problem Solving Creates Value
When there is a problem to be solved, value becomes more important than the student’s perception of the service. Understanding the student’s underlying motivation for studying abroad, as well as uncovering any pain points you can help them solve, will pay dividends in your working relationship with your students.
For example, many students opt to study in Canada as the first step on the path to permanent residency and a better life. Some can even be mature students, married with children, and already have a degree. Knowing that the United Kingdom is planning its own two-year post-study work visa, you can present this to the student as an additional opportunity, one that may not have been on their radar before. This will demonstrate that you aren’t just interested in getting them enrolled as quickly as possible; instead, you are truly working in their best interest based on their long term goals for their education and life.
Always keep in mind that the communications you have with a student should never come across as transactional. Identifying ways you can help them solve problems will take these conversations to the next level.
Creating value for the students you work with helps drive successful student enrollments by alleviating roadblocks, concerns, and objections.
And, when you do face challenges with your students, you can move toward solutions much easier. You’ll help place the right student into the program that best suits them—a win for both of you.
It’s important never to lose sight of the fact that value is “in the eye of the beholder” and depends on each student’s individual perspective and needs. And, as sales expert and author Jeffrey Gitomer says, “Perceived value is the true measure of value.”
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work to create value:
- Let the student’s decision-making process lead the way, rather than imposing your process on them.
- Determine what your student values by actively listening and asking relevant questions to understand their needs.
- Have a firm understanding of your student’s underlying motivation for wanting to study abroad.
- Draw on your own experiences when you are speaking with students. For example, if you’ve had your own study abroad experience, convey to them how you felt—both the anxiety and the excitement. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you come across as relatable and help establish empathy for your student.
- Encourage the student to tell you what solving their problem would mean to them.
Creating value means focusing on the student and asking relevant questions about their goals and needs to show them how you can help achieve their dream of studying abroad. When we create real value for our students, they feel loyalty to you and trust you to help them make the best decisions on their educational journey. And, don’t forget, with each successful student enrollment, we’re one step closer to educating the world!