Marketing your business is, at it’s most simple level, telling people what makes you different. But what do you do when your market competes in price?
I’ve come across this most recently in logistics. At any time 2,3 or 4 similar businesses all offer the same commodity of a business delivery service, and customers are known to be quick to ‘flip-flop’ between these different companies, driving the price down between the different companies with each move.
This relationship is not ideal and you might be in a similar space, whether you sell a service or a product.
If you’re trying to stand out in a price competitive market, making a point of differentiation should be your number one goal, otherwise you risk selling simply on price and only getting difficult customers. Just a quick ‘why’. For one, driving the price down benefits no one and whilst you might like to see your competitors floundering and losing a deal, if the prices go down, in the end, everyone suffers.
Secondly, the customers that are buying on price alone are a nightmare. No really, these are the people that can’t be pleased. The ones that spend the least and want the most. These are the people you don’t want at your door! Customers that have come to you thinking you are the cheapest aren’t in the mindset that allows them to see you as a valuable service provider. To them, you are replaceable, a widget, a salesman in a sea of hundreds.
Dealing with these people is a drain. You don’t want cheap customers. Instead, your ideal customer would be happy to hear from you. They might have sought you out. Once on board, they will buy from you time and time again, they would recommend you to other people. In short, you want an educated, sophisticated customer.
So – how do you find someone like that? The first step is to commit to not selling on price.
Stop Selling On Price
People do care about things other than price. We buy based on feelings. Your customers might say all they care about is the fee, but really, they want more than that. They might have a budget, but what they really want is to witness competency.
- They want the peace of mind of smooth service.
- They want to have a connection with you and to have someone they can call on who can bend over backwards to help them if they are in a tight spot.
- They want to have a quality product that won’t break or need to be replaced – no one wants to go cap in hand to their manager explaining that they made the wrong decision the first time around.
In short, you need to sell trust.
If you can’t differentiate yourself, the only thing they can use to judge you vs your competition is the price.
So, what’s different about your company? What is the word that defines you? Customer? Product? Speed? Quality? Or, what would you like to be if you could start again?
Find a focus point that you want people to know what you stand for. Create that brand and make it easy for like-minded people to buy from you, time and time again. Apple doesn’t sell cheap phones. Burberry doesn’t make a polyblend scarf. You don’t need to be the cheapest to win customers.
That sounds easy to say ‘Okay Elaine, we’ll just do that from now on, thanks’, but I truly believe that this should be a company-wide mentality and commitment. That means that if people call you and ask ‘just for the price’ that you should be prepared to educate them or close the door on the sale. It means you eradicate comparison points based on the price on your website or literature. You walk your own path. It means reaching people way before their April budget is set and educating them far, far earlier so you are the premium choice. It means a full flip in how you work.
A consistent experience at all company levels
Marketing can’t live alone on an island. If you want better marketing, there has to be that commitment to stand out and this is often in service. But this doesn’t just mean what words you write on a brochure. It means a full company switch of mentality. You may want to be a premium service, but you need to be realistic. Is that really what you offer? Marketing is not the Lies and Duplicity Department – it can only reflect the reality in a favourable light.
If you want to sell this top-level service then this should be a reality. Not only that, but the concept you are adopting should also trickle down your whole company. Everyone should believe in what you do. From the welcoming voice on reception, the happy IT service team, the salesperson that doesn’t come across as slippery or after a quick buck – your catchphrase, be it quality, kindness, the extra mile, needs to run through the company like writing in a stick of rock. How can you get closer to customers and care for them? If you serve them well, they will pay more, recommend you and never leave, but it’s something everyone needs to be invested in.
“We need more customers” is a common request for marketing and sales, but whilst this is a worthwhile goal, could you actually be squeezing more from your current customers? The sales funnel isn’t designed to spit out customers at the bottom to be checked in on by an account manager who is busy, indifferent or only interested in the upsell. People notice they are getting a once monthly call and their interest goes off the boil.
The ideal account manager will work in tandem with marketing, sales and other teams to reach out to current customers and think about what extra they can do. How can they live the values you have decided? Could your products help them? Could you speak to them about their experience? Kill them with kindness should be a great motto here, and allowing your team the freedom to give, gift, ask, show and care will reap benefits when it’s time for a renewal.
A great way to get into the mindset away from price is to have a phrase to have in your mind when you do absolutely anything related to marketing or sales which is simply – ‘So what?’
When you write that great proposal document, scan it through and ask ‘so what?’
When you post on social media, ask yourself if it answers that question.
You need to show how much better you are going to make the customer’s life. This could be videos, case studies, feedback ratings, all using your keywords like speed, efficiency, service, quality, peace of mind.
Selling is always about the benefit!
Do you need help getting your marketing strategy solid for the year ahead? I would love to help you. Reach out today!
ABOUT ME: ELAINE KEEP, DIRECTOR
I launched ‘Your Marketing Managed’ as an addition to my existing business Keep Writing Ltd a way to offer businesses the service of a marketing manager, without needing to pay for holidays, sick leave, national insurance and pension, whilst still getting a great service. I had noticed a growing need for businesses to have hands-on marketing support with flexibility.
My background has been 14 years in marketing, working as head of department in a mixture of start ups, local businesses and PLC’s including Tuffnells, BriefYourMarket, Go Outdoors, SVM Global and alpharooms. I had my first child and decided to build on the freelance work I had been doing with a new business dedicated to marketing support.
In my work I help with a range of things dependent on each client’s needs, such as PR, social media, event marketing, print and ‘traditional’ marketing, website management, influencer outreach, blogging and more. I can also come on-site or have regular calls to engage other team members.
I don’t call myself a ‘consultant’ as that implies someone who comes in and dictates to an existing team- I’m very much hands-on, able to offer strategic direction but also knuckle down and get your tasks done!