What have you done lately to increase your customers’ perception of your value?
If your answer is “nothing,” you’ve trained them to think of your value as minimal. Maybe you looked at the pricing structure we discussed in the previous webinar and thought, “My clients won’t pay that!”
You taught them what to expect. Your customers’ price sensitivities are a trained behavior.
That’s actually good news. You trained them to have low expectations for your pricing… and you can un-train them.
Our current market is an atomic wasteland — which is the perfect time to make changes. In fact, customers will be surprised if you don’t change. During a crisis, no one expects business-as-usual, giving you the opportunity to move your customers into a new way of thinking.
Now is the right time to adopt a Don Draper mindset and “only sell to believers.” This is your chance to find the right fit of customers for the type of business you do and the needs you meet — and in doing so, increase your value.
How do you do that? It begins with marketing.
Product vs. Customer Focus?
Start by identifying the focus on your company. Do you focus more on products or customers? What types of relationships do you build with your clients and what value do you offer their organization?
Where is your company on this chart? Consider the type of relationship you build with clients. The more clients can expect from the relationship, the more they’re willing to pay. At the low end of the relationship spectrum, we sell on price. However, as we offer more flexibility, add our expertise, and ultimately become immersed in the inner workings of their business, our customer-focus (and price) increases.
Value proposition is also important. As a basis for value, you need the capacity to get the job done. From there, your value increases as you establish your brand and create a name clients can depend on. When you start selling outcomes (rather than products and services that make up the job), your value moves even higher. You reach the apex of value proposition if you become unique — no one does what you do, the way you do it.
Figure out where your company falls and say no to business that doesn’t fall within that same area. Is the customer buying what you’re selling? If you’re selling ideal outcomes, but they’re just trying to negotiate a transaction, that’s a mismatch.
Only sell to people who believe that what you offer has value to them.
The Building Blocks of Marketing
How do you find the customers who are the right fit?
Marketing isn’t isolated to one department or even one step in a process — it’s pervasive throughout the customer experience. When all of the pieces fit together, strong marketing builds a brand that identifies the right customers for your business and moves them towards a connection that ultimately leads to a business outcome.
The target customer always comes first. If you don’t have a solid understanding of who your target customer is, start specifying your ideal customer now. Without this information, you’re casting too wide of a net. You’re hoping the right customer will coincidentally show up rather than targeting your efforts to find the right clients for you.
Brand establishes how you want to be recognized. Anything people see affects your brand. To make the best impression, aim your brand at your ideal customer.
For more, check out: How to Use Your (Unknown) Expertise to Develop Your Brand
Once the client is engaged with the brand, work to be attractive to them. We want to be visible in places our target customers look and craft an image that appeals to them. The more our brand and target are in sync, the better this works.
While attracting is passive, promoting is proactive. It gives us a way to accelerate our appeal. We promote when we attend a networking event, hand out business cards, and make elevator pitches. It’s all about introducing yourself to people who don’t know who you are rather than waiting for them to discover you through your efforts at being attractive.
What are we promoting? Our message is all about outcome — what do you do for people that they can’t do for themselves?
When you first reach out to new prospects, make sure you have the right type of customer. Are the filters working? If it’s not the right customer, politely exit the discussion and move on.
If you have a good fit, deepen the engagement. Engagement might consist of making a pitch, demonstrating your product, playing golf, or going to dinner. Whatever it is, it deepens your connection before you move to the sales phase.
Once you’re acquainted, match the needs of the buyer to the things that you do. You have a lot of products and services — more than you think. They have a lot of needs — more than they think. The matching process helps us make these connections so we see the many reasons we should be doing business together.
For more information on engagement, fit, and matching, check out this approach.
Matching leads to the proposal. Don’t rush it. The better you know the client, the better you can craft the proposal to meet everyone’s needs.
When you’re ready, start with a conceptual agreement — agreeing on what the proposal will say before you put it in writing. Then, write it into a formal proposal.
If all the blocks fit together, the closing focuses only on financial terms (not price). A conceptual agreement shows you agree on the value, but now it’s time to deal with their money.
Affirm what you need. In the marketing process, you’ve shared how you do your job and why you do it that way. By this point, they should be a “believer.” They should trust that you’re worth the value you’ve agreed upon.
If you’re bidding on a job among competitors, you’re dealing with a non-believer. What can you do to make them a believer so the rest of the bids don’t matter?
When you come to terms with the right client who believes in your business, you lay out the price and their options for payment. These options don’t change the value of what you do — they just change when it can be paid.
Give them three payment options — all of which deliver the same value and outcome. The only change is the cost of money according to when money is delivered. If money is delivered later, the price goes up. If money is delivered sooner or includes more non-refundables, charge less.
A smooth closing requires the right closer who knows the cost and parameters to finalizing the deal. If your salesperson doesn’t have the ability or authority to negotiate a close, you won’t close. Make sure your closer can make a call to close the deal on the spot.
Want to Learn More?
When business picks up again, will you be ready? Rebuild your marketing processes now to create a more successful and valuable future ahead.
For more information on marketing and selling in the post pandemic era, check out the full webinar replay from Week 6 (April 22) of our weekly webinar series: The Show Will Go On — Business Survival Series.
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