Most companies that I know are frustrated that they cannot get customers to appreciate what they do. The real rub lies in not being able to monetize what we believe sets us apart from the competition. Unfortunately, we find ourselves competing on unfavorable terms instead of the ones we’d prefer. How does one go about turning this scenario around to one that delivers superior results via customers who see the value in what is being offered? How do you show value to customers? Can you demonstrate savings in dollars, time, or some other resource? If so, you have a competitive advantage!
Take the time today to write out how your company makes the customer’s life easier, produces more opportunity, or decreases their costs. Do you provide complimentary training? As a result of doing business with you, do they have better control over quality–how can that be measured? Is your logistics solution extra convenient for them–what is that worth to them? How about the way you package your product–any advantage for them/how can you quantify it? All of these factors are significant to the customer if you find a way to communicate the value.
The story is told of a supplier to the apparel industry who found a way to get their customers to articulate the value proposition. As a provider of zippers, trim, buttons, lining, hangers, and garment bags, H.B. Trim was looking for a way to communicate how valuable it was versus the competition. Ross Nadelman, the owner, told his consultant “I do everything better than my competition. I offer more. I understand the business more, and I can deliver better.” Do you feel this way about your business? Guess what? None of this matters if you don’t find a way to monetize your value to the customer! What Ross did to turn the corner was to send a cover letter and an attachment to two prospects he’d been trying to reach for years. In the letter, he listed his company’s competitive advantages; the attachment was a worksheet that he asked the prospects to fill out estimating their current costs and anticipated savings if they did business with him. Not only did he pick up the two prospects, but enough others to increase his business by 60% Would you like to increase your business by 60%?
If you are not in the manufacturing world, but perhaps in a services business, then it is likely that your differentiation will be slightly different. Speak to your customers/clients about information–how you collect, manage, and wield it to their advantage. If you are doing a lot of work for small to medium sized businesses, they often lack access to key statistics and trends for their industries. You have some of that information just from your interaction with them, their competitors, and peers in related industries. All you have to do is summarize what you know and share it to show how much you care. The next step would be telling a new prospect that you will help them avoid costly mistakes or find new opportunities because of what you share by way of information. Be ready with a story of how an existing customer benefited from your thoughtfulness. This is how you build an unassailable customer base!