By Warren Greshes
I recently conducted a webinar on “Effective Prospecting Skills.” As part of the process, attendees were able to type in and submit questions online before and during the webinar. The question that popped up most often was, “How can we convince our customers and prospects of the value of paying fair market prices or slightly more for better services instead of going to a competitor who is in panic mode and undercutting pricing to the point of not leaving any margins for anyone to survive?”
I could think of only two answers:
1. Cut your price to match the competition. Be aware that if you do, you better be prepared to make painful cuts in quality, service and, most likely, people in order to make up for the big hit you will take to your bottom line. But, what the heck, cutting price is easy. Why do you think that’s the route most companies take? Or you could…
2. “Do the hard.” The key to success is not to do what everyone else is doing, but to do what every-
one else is not willing to do. In this case, that means stop being salespeople and start being experts, advisors, resources and single points of contact for your clients.
I guarantee there is not a single client, customer or prospect who wants to be an expert on what you do. That’s what they have you for. Most clients don’t have the time to keep up with all the information they need to be experts in their own field, let alone yours. That’s why your ability to supply your clients with knowledge, expertise, information and education is not only critical to your success, but theirs, too.
On top of that there are three very good reasons why you should always strive to be an expert, advisor, resource and single point of contact for your clients.
1. An expert, advisor, resource and single point of contact is the toughest thing for your competition to duplicate. There’s no secret that price is the easiest thing for competition to duplicate. Any idiot can cut his price. It doesn’t take a genius to do that.
As a business owner, manager, executive or salesperson, the one thing you always need to do, in good economic times or bad, is differentiate yourself from the competition. What do you think is easier to find – a company that sells price or a company that constantly strives to be an expert, advisor and resource while selling clients quality, service, convenience and value?
Naturally the “price company” is far easier to find. I’ll bet they make up the majority of your industry. So then why would you ever want to sell price? Doing that means you have to compete against the multitudes when anyone willing to be an expert, advisor, resource and single point of contact can have virtually no competition.
You’re probably saying, “Well if it’s that easy why doesn’t everybody do it?” That’s exactly the point! If it were easy, everyone would do it. The reason they don’t is because it’s hard. But it’s the willingness to do the hard that makes you great. It’s the willingness to do the hard that will separate you from the competition because most of them are only willing to do the easy and cut their price.
2. An expert, advisor, resource and single point of contact is what your clients want. Clients want extraordinary quality, service, convenience and value. They want to work with suppliers who can save them time and make their lives easier. And they need your knowledge, expertise, information and education.
Yet many clients end up buying price because it’s so hard to find all that other stuff and price is what most salespeople sell. The single biggest reason clients buy price is because too often it’s the only alternative we leave them with.
Every survey on customer buying preferences that I’ve ever seen tells me that clients still want to buy from a person. Clients still want that personal touch. Even beyond that, however, they want to deal with a person who will be their expert, advisor and resource while also being a single point of contact who can answer every question or, if they can’t, immediately knows of someone else who can.
Clients want a single point of contact who will handle their problems for them and not just point them in the right direction (usually into customer service hell). Clients don’t want to be told, “Just call this number and ask for __________.” No, they want someone who says, “Give me all the information and I’ll straighten it out for you,” or, “Tell me what you’re looking for and even though I don’t do that, I probably know someone else in our company who does and I’ll put her in touch with you.”
I guarantee there is not one client, customer or prospect you work with or solicit who isn’t busy, pressed for time or at least perceive they are. The two biggest benefits you can ever give a client are: save me time (time is the single biggest commodity people have the least of these days); and make my life easier (name me one person who wants their life made harder.)
3. Being an expert, advisor, resource and single point of contact can make you indispensable to your clients. In this economic climate, where competitors are trying to grab business from you with severe price cuts, the only way to even remotely insulate yourself is by constantly striving to be your clients’ expert, advisor, resource and single point of contact.
If you’re doing things for your clients that nobody else is even willing to do, how can they possibly replace you?
For example, we know in this economy most clients are looking to build up their bottom line by cutting back; whether it be on expenses or people. This means they’ll be looking for price cuts from their suppliers.
As an expert, advisor and resource you need to be a consultant to your clients. Part of your job is to know their businesses as well as you know your own. If, in your role as consultant, you can show your clients how to build up their bottom line by growing their business, doesn’t that make you even more valuable to them, if not indispensable? Plus, helping them grow their business not only means less price pressure for you, but also more new business!
Quality, service, convenience, value and time savings. Be my expert, advisor, resource and single point of contact who constantly strives to give me knowledge, expertise, information and education. This is what the client of the 21st century is looking for and what the 21st century salesperson must be able to deliver. Otherwise, be prepared to cut your price.
Warren Greshes is a serial entrepreneur. As an internationally acclaimed Hall of Fame speaker, top-selling author, broadcaster, podcaster, educational products producer and former minor league baseball team owner, Greshes has been travelling the world for the past 27 years helping companies beat the competition and expand their business. He can be reached at his web site: www.greshes.com; via email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or, at 800-858-1516.