What HR Firms Can Learn From Apple About Value Creation

Published: 01 Nov - 2020 by Ben Rendle

A question of value

As a HR professional you are well aware of the value your services bring to your clients. Sadly, HR consultants are not natural born salespeople. This often means that the value you provide is not accurately communicated to clients in your initial meetings. Worse still is linked only to the punitive results of handling HR process ineffectively.

It is so little wonder that your clients do not value the services you provide.

This is where the problems start. If your clients do not appreciate the value that you provide your services will always be seen as a commodity. This leads to your clients being price sensitive. Continually looking to reduce your price and bag a bargain, worse still often we grant them that discount to secure the sale.

As a sector HR need to start to increase the perceived values of its services.

In this article I explore the methods used to create value by the most valuable company in the world. And how these methods can be used in the HR sector to increase the perceived value of your services with your clients. Making it easier to achieve higher value fees.


Why do Apple need to create value?

After all Apple sell products that you as a consumer can touch and feel surely the value is obvious? Unfortunately for Apple this is not the case.

Apple sell their products at a premium price point, compared to their main competitors. They need their customers to be able to justify paying in some cases four times more for a technically comparable device. It is the extra value that Apple creates that allows this justification.

We can liken this to HR consultancy. There will always be providers who look to offer their services at a low price point. This will make it difficult to achieve the prices you desire based on price comparison alone.

So, it is essential that you can differentiate your services based on the extra value that you provide.

But how do Apple create that perceived extra value?


#1 – Create an experience

 A visit to an Apple store whether in person or online is a carefully crafted experience. Designed to provide greatest sales opportunity.

The store itself is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. From the large windows drawing you in to the sleek tables displaying their products.

On entry the sales process begins. You are initially greeted on arrival, welcomed into the store, and asked about the reason for your visit. You are then assigned a specific representative, and perhaps a time slot, where you are presented with a solution to your requirements. Any questions or objections you raise are dealt with at the time.

When you leave you are bid a fond farewell and invited to return.

Without realising it from start to finish your visit to the Apple store has been a masterclass in relationship building.

In HR we can replicate this by thoroughly designing our sales process. Every step from first contact through to final meeting. Should be crafted to ensure that we fully understand the pains of our potential client. This allows us to better place ourselves as a solution to these needs.


#2 – Beautiful Design

Whilst technically Apple devices maybe comparable to their competitors offering. The design of their products is undoubtably superior. Every way you touch an Apple device has been designed for comfort and ease of use.

That’s all very well when selling a product, but how does this translate to selling services I hear you say.

Well let’s think about the key touch points in our client journey

- Initial call have prospects book directly into your diary, bypassing having to reschedule or hitting a voicemail.

- Face to Face meeting review the structure of your meetings to ensure you are getting the information you need to show value.

- High quality brochures, and proposals, consign plain text emails to the past.

- Review the flow of your website and tweak to ensure it is customer focused rather than being focused on what you do.


#3 – Solve an emotional need

Like it or not part of the process of buying a device from Apple is an emotional need. Whether that is the need to have nice looking equipment or the ego need of displaying that you have top of the range equipment.

When selling HR services there is often a pressing emotional need for the service. It is critical, that we are able to dial into this underlying need when communicating with clients. If your clients feel that you totally understand them, they are more likely to appreciate the value you bring to the transaction.


#4 – No Jargon

 When describing their products Apple use plain and simple language.

Technical specifications are included as a side note to the sales material.

Instead Apple focus on describing the design elements of the product. When referencing technical advancements; they may say 3 times faster than the last I-pad for example. This is easily interpreted by non-technical customers.

This increases the chance of customers buying into the brand by being understandable.

It is important that we use the same concept when selling HR services. The client rarely needs or wants to know which legislation needs to be reviewed all they care about is the end result and how to get there legally. So, if as their professional, we can diagnose their issues and describe what needs to happen. And ultimately the end result without technical jargon we increase our perceived value.


#5 - Packaging

No we are not talking about boxes here (although the physical packaging of Apple has its own following). We are talking about how Apple communicates its products and their price to its customers.

When you click buy on the Apple website you are presented with a number of options. In many cases this is firstly which screen size would you like. When you have selected a screen size you are presented with some different models of the product. Each with varying specification and price. This allows the customer to pick the option that best suits their needs.

If we have diagnosed our clients problems we should be able to either

a) present to them a number of options at varying price points or,

b) present a single solution but with associated upgrade/downgrade routes

This allows the client to feel like they have control of what they pay. It also helps you to identify any objections the client may have and be able to address them in the meeting.



At first, it might not seem like Apple can teach you much about creating value in your HR firm. They’re in a completely different niche and they sell products, rather than services.

But as you can see, there’s a lot that you can take away from how Apple increase their value to customers.

Aim to create an experience for your clients. Build an emotional connection to your services and stop speaking in technical jargon. The better the experience of dealing with you, the more likely the value your clients place on your services will increase.

And finally, never allow price to be your selling point. It only takes one firm to come along with lower pricing to render that strategy obsolete.


P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways that I can help you to increase your value to clients, realise higher prices and achieve greater profitability.

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