— Neil F. Anderson, Founder & President, The Courage Group, Inc.
Now days, it’s tough for any business, regardless of size, to successfully compete and win new business.
The days of signing up new clients or customers with ease are long gone. The past recession, the anemic economy, the fierce competition and impact of the internet have all made it very difficult to close the sale. Now you have to fight “tooth and nail” to get more new customers.
Breaking News: The reasons really don’t matter. What matters most is generating revenue, continuing to pay the bills, grow the business and stay out of the business failure graveyard.
What will help? Three words-offer more value. Try this strategy on for size, always give people more value for their hard earned money.
Eight Offering More Value Tips
1. Do Your Homework-To win new business, by adding more value, you first need to know what the other guy is doing. That means updating or writing your business plan.
A business plan is simply a written description of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. It is your roadmap to success.
One of the best reasons for writing a business plan is that it will force you to examine your competition. You can’t add value to your products or services until you have a strong understanding of what your competitors are offering.
Note-Check out the below entrepreneurs, who recognized the value of writing a business plan. Recognized the opportunity to add more value, based on their knowledge of the competition, then delivered it in order to win business and successfully grow the company.
* Phil Knight/Founder of Nike/Annual Revenue-$24 BB/44,000 employees
* Fred Smith/Founder of FedEx/Annual Revenue-$46BB/300,000 employees
* Jim Koch/Co-Founder/Sam Adams/Annual Revenue/$794MM/840 employees
* Jeff Bezos/Founder of Amazon.com/Annual Revenue-$74MM/132,000 employees
2. Now Make Your Changes, Fast– Now that you know what the other guy is offering, time now to make the necessary changes to your current products or your service offerings. Not tomorrow, but today.
Ensure that your promotional materials, yours sales and marketing tools, and your website are updated, to reflect the new value offered.
Now go back and work your old sales prospects/leads list asap and re-introduce them to your updated, more value-driven services or products.
Note-Making changes by adding more value should always be ongoing with your business. Not doing so may mean no sale and maybe no business down the road.
3. Get The Word Out, Market More– You know what your competitors are doing, you now have updated your services/products and you have worked your old sales lead list, now it’s time to let more people know about it. Time to put on your marketing hat.
If you have zero or very limited funds for traditional advertising, try getting some free publicity in the media or elsewhere.
Having your articles get published both online and offline, in major news outlets, appearing on television/radio, and regularly speaking in front of groups will help generate new awareness of your services. And more new sales lead opportunities for you.
Note-To get some media attention, remember this- it is not about you or your business; it is all about the story. This may sound harsh but the media does not care about you, they care about a good story. Hint-devote about five hours a week to some publicity driven activity.
“If I only had two dollars left I would spend one dollar on PR.” Bill Gates — Founder of Microsoft
“If your staff works enormously hard to create something they are proud of, it’s foolish if you don’t let the world know about it. Using yourself to get out and talk about it is a lot cheaper and more effective than a lot of advertising. In fact, if you do it correctly, it can beat advertising hands down and save tens of millions of dollars.” Richard Branson — Founder of Virgin Airlines
4. Demonstrate Your Added Value/Show and Tell Time-Now that you have attracted some new sales prospects, make it easy for potential customers/clients to immediately see the added value.
Don’t forget to showcase the added value offerings with your sales tools; here is XYZ’s price and offerings and here is our price and offerings. But look at all the extra items you will receive with our services, at no extra charge.
Plus, always share your existing client/customer testimonials that showcase the value they received from buying from you. These are a very important tool in your sales kit, use them.
Note-The competition is fierce today. And we live in a hurry up, busy and distracted world, so it’s important to quickly show and demonstrate all of your added value to win new business.
5. Learn More Marketing and Sales Stuff-You can create the best mousetrap, throw in all the added value offerings, but if no one knows about you and the business, or you lack marketing and sales skills, it will be an uphill climb.
Now is the time to make the commitment to become a sponge on both marketing and sales topics. And continually to educate yourself, learn new strategies/tactics that will help you close the deal and grow the business.
Next time you are at the library or bookstore, take the time to browse through all the marketing and sales books and magazines. Or go online and discover a wealth of helpful information. Some favorite’s websites of mine; CNNMoney.com, Wsj.com and entrepreneur.com.
For any business success- if you don’t love marketing and selling, make sure you have someone on your team that does.
Note–Here is why people don’t buy; no money, no need, no hurry, no trust, no credibility and no value.
6. Adopt a Constant, More Value Mindset-Ok, now that you have done your homework, updated your services/product offerings and are re-focused on your marketing and sales efforts, anything else I can do? Yes.
Starting today, adopt full-time, always added more value mindset within your company. Remember, money has been and will probably always be tight for most consumers. And they are looking to get the most value for their money. Show them the value and increase your sales.
Note-Try this; get into the habit of going to the coffee shop and doing some value brainstorming. With the key question to ask yourself; what else can I offer people with my services or products that will make my deal more attractive to buy?
7. Remember, It’s Not About Me, It’s About You-To close the deal, in an up, down or whatever economy, it pays to do more listening than talking. Once you know what your potential clients/customers really want and need, give it to them, always.
I remember one of my sales prospects telling me that, although it was nice that I could help them with my service offerings. But it would sure be nice if I could offer some start-up consulting, as part of the deal. Bingo-I quickly re-tooled my service offering/package and got the deal done.
If you listen more than you talk, potential clients will usually tell you what value they want and need.
Note-You may want to consider adopting an “ala carte” pricing strategy. These days, potential customers and clients may see more value from you, vs. your competition by having the ability to simply pick and choose only what they need. Rather than having to choose a “one size fits all” package and price.
8. Always Deliver-You have worked hard to close the deal, now don’t blow it by not executing. Time now to live up to your business promise. Deliver the services/products and your added value, always.
FedEx comes to mind here. Here is a company that started out and grew into one of the world’s most successful and admired businesses with their brand promises, speed, execution and delivery. Ship with us and your package will be delivered overnight by 10:30 am. Guaranteed.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes can, and will fail it they don’t live up to their promises with clients and customers.
Note– A quick story- Before starting my own business, I was a salesman for American Airlines in Chicago. I remember the President, from of one of the biggest banks in Chicago, (and a major customer we were trying to win from United Airlines) telling me; “one of the reasons why you got the deal is because when you said you were going to do something, you did it.
Note–He also said that is how he rose through the ranks from a teller to becoming President & CEO. Not bad career advice for anyone.
So see the value, offer the value, and then always deliver the value to your clients and customers. Not a bad recipe for winning in today, tomorrow and beyond.