Maybe You’re Asking the Wrong Question: The Value of a Story and Conversation

How do you determine what a product is worth? We are such good consumers. We quickly quantify whether a transaction has good value or bad value, and most often, we look exclusively at the market value of the product to ascertain its value.

For example, what would you want to know about this bracelet before buying it?


  1. Price?
  2. Weight of the rubies?
  3. Weight and quality of the diamonds?
  4. Type of precious metal and weight?
  5. Authenticity?

But, what if I told you this story about the bracelet? Do you think that would change your perception?

(note: this scene drops you into the middle of a heist movie. there are a few shots with bloody faces–if that bothers you, don’t watch the video)

Excerpt from Comes a Bright Day (2012) watch the video here

Well, is the value of the bracelet the same?

This scene brilliantly illustrates the value that story brings to the bracelet. Suddenly, the balance of the transaction is disrupted by an overwhelming and powerful story. The value of the “product” is not simply about the market value of its elements. Rather the object is animated because of its significance in the story, and for some that elevates its value exponentially above its market rate.

As Doc Searls says in Cluetrain Manifesto, “Everything that happens in a marketplace falls into just three categories: transaction, conversation, and relationship.” Too often we spend time in the transaction phase without even thinking about the conversation. Conversations and stories build life-long relationships, and they also shift the focus from price as the sole factor in a transaction.

So often, in my business, clients want to know what the immediate ROI will be. Especially when looking at investments that allow you to have genuine conversations with potential clients, the question may never be sufficiently answered because it’s like asking how much does the beauty of the bracelet weigh? If the question is instead, “How much will this investment allow me to engage in conversation and build relationships with clients and potential clients?” it not only changes the immediate analysis of cost and expectations for execution, it also changes the longterm expectation of ROI.


Jeremy Floyd

Jeremy Floyd is the President at FUNYL Commerce. Formerly, he was the CEO and President of Lirio, Bluegill Creative, a marketing and communications firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to managing the digital strategies, Floyd was an adjunct professor for the University of Tennessee Chattanooga MBA program teaching digital strategies and social media. Floyd blogs at and tweets under the name @jfloyd. Jeremy is licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from MTSU in English and Philosophy.

  • I like the story behind the braclet. I agree that people get caught up in the sale and forget about conversation and building the realtionship. That is what seperates the good sales associates from the bad ones. Eventhough you may not get the sale that day… you have still built the realtionship and trust of that client that when they do decide to buy they will come to you!!!

  • Yes…and even if they never buy from you, there is a good chance they will refer you.