As a business person, it is important for you to understand that only 35% of the reason people buy the products or services you offer, is for the actual product or service itself. The other 65% of the reason they buy, is for what you can do or provide for your customer beyond the product or service, and what that product or service does for the customer.
In other words, if you are trying to sell your customers and prospects products and services, youare wasting your time. They are only 35% interested in products and services. But they are 65% interested in the benefits of having you involved.
The chances are good that your customers and prospects can buy the same product or service (or at least comparable ones) from any one of several of your competitors. And with that product or service, your competitor may offer a number of additional advantages, as well. They may have a lower price, better quality product, some added bonuses or extra services, a location that’s more convenient, or a payment plan that fits their budget better.
In today’s tough, competitive market, it’s difficult to compete on price or product. You may be able to command a certain advantage for a period time because you have a lower price than your competitors, but you and I both know that it will be short-lived.
The truth is, you will never be able to maintain a competitive position in the marketplace – long-term for any length of time because of the prices you charge or the products you provide. It’ll just be a matter of time before either one of your competitors lowers their prices or duplicates (or even betters) your product, or you raise your prices because you no longer have the necessary margins to justify your prices.
But there’s one thing your customers can’t get from any of your competitors. And that’s you and the empathy, the problem solving expertise and the knowledge, education and commitment to service that you bring to his or her specific and unique situation.
Products and Services, or Advice?
So it is important to continually ask yourself (and be honest) the following question…
“How do your customers… the people who do business with you… your clients and prospects, see you?”
Here is an easy method you can use to find out.
- Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle.
- On the left hand side at the top, label the column, “Products and Services.”
- Label the right hand column, “Help and Advice.”.
Products and Services
Help and Advice
Now, every time you are in contact with a customer or prospect, whether they call you or you have a faceEUR’toEUR’face meeting, evaluate the overall purpose of the meeting. Did your customer or prospect look to you for the products or services you provide? Or did they seek your help, advice or counsel to help them make a decision that would solve a particular need or challenge they were encountering?
Once you’ve determined that, place a mark in the appropriate column. Then at the end of the month, evaluate the results of your list. If you have more marks in the “Products and Services” column than in the “Help and Advice” column, you pretty well know what perception your customers have of you.
But equally important, you also know what you need to do to change that perception. You can then begin to develop and implement a plan of action that focuses on improving your image in the eyes of your customers. Then test yourself again several months later. By comparing your evaluation sheets over the period of a year or two, you can easily see the progress you’re making.
Improvement is not always difficult. Oftentimes, a person may not know where they are weak or where they need to improve. But if you can isolate those areas that need improvement, you can then begin to take the necessary steps to effect positive change.