Have you experienced the “Wal-Mart Mentality” with any of your customers, where customers expect you to have the lowest price possible? If so, the pressure to be the lowest-priced provider and defend your pricing can be demoralizing and draining for those on the frontline all the way to top management! The last thing you want to have happen is to get caught in a downward spiral and have your team suffer with burnout and frustration!
The good news is that with a proactive marketing approach, you can avoid the perception of pricing problems! So if you are experiencing the Pricing Pressure Blues, you need to find the ways to differentiate your business from your competition. You need to make people want to buy from you rather than from the other guy!
You need to stand out from the others and create the situation so that customers are willing to pay more for your services. Employees will rarely have to defend your prices when you successfully market the value of your products and the expertise of your staff!
It’s all about perception – people are usually willing to pay more if they perceive that the value they are getting in return is worthwhile!
My wife has recently developed an addiction to Starbucks. Why? Yes, she loves the taste of her “special” iced coffee. But it is far more than that! It certainly isn’t because they discount their products. Instead, they make certain that their customers are buying an “experience” and not just a cup of coffee. How do they do it?
• They customize every cup of coffee
• The employees not only learn the customer’s names, but they use them!
• The employees recognize how valuable a customer’s time is and work to deliver their product at top speed
• Their marketing reflects their belief in the quality of their product – it’s always the “finest coffee”
• They invite and encourage their customers to “hang out” – fireplaces, comfortable furniture and oftentimes seating in a comfortable patio setting is available, and many offer free wireless internet service
• The employees deliver a level of customer service that is stellar, consistently!
Don’t try and set yourself apart by price. There is almost always someone more desperate and will lower their price at any cost to gain the business. Not many businesses have the financial clout and considerable resources to price like Wal-Mart. So don’t fight the Wal-Mart mentality, but rather identify what makes your company, products and services unique!
Ask your customers what matters most to them; find out how your customers make their buying decisions for the types of products or services you offer.
Here are some basic questions that you need to ask your customers:
• What did you like about doing business with us?
• What did you not like about doing business with us?
• What other companies did you research?
• Why did you decide to buy from us?
• What would you tell others about our company, products or services?
It’s all about being different in ways that provide a greater value to your customers! These unique qualities will set you apart from your competition, put the “oomph” back in your marketing efforts which will in turn help to increase your sales and overcome the Pricing Pressure Blues!
David Saxby is president of Measure-X, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based measurement, training and recognition company that specializes in customer service and sales skill training for utility companies.