There are many products out on the market that compete with each other to basically do the same thing. All will provide some kind of solution to clean, degrease and provide surface protection of any job that you need done, and prices can vary extremely compared to the value they offer.
It is very simple for a company to just pick up the cheapest products on the market and increase their profit margins and the clients would be unaware as the breakdown of the costs in the service are not always clear, and on the surface may not seem to be an issue.
I use quality products as I can see the the value they provide us as a company, the money it saves our clients in the long run, and the overall quality and pride we take in our work.
We take the initial hit on the cost of a quality product, but the final results speak for themselves.
THE MAGICIANS ASSISTANT
As a business owner, I am the face of the company and the results I provide, all the hard work in any of the projects I may undertake can at times dilute the importance and the assistance the tools and products I use to achieve my results.
Just like a magicians assistant, the role of a good products can be easily mistaken as the hard work and elbow-grease it takes to do the job, but it is also important to understand how the products I use compliment my work and assist me to get that perfect job completed efficiently and at a high standard.
A good product provides me value in terms of effort and time it saves me. Over the years i have collected an arsenal of products that i repeatedly use because they do they work they are designed for.
They make my work easier by eating into the dirt and grime, saving me time and energy which not only lets me pass on the savings on to my customers via the overall price for the service, but also gives me time in my job to focus on the attention to detail and go that extra mile to give the final result that ”loved” feel that set us apart from other companies.
A quality product can also provide a protective layer on your surfaces, helping repel dirt and grime away for longer and depending on the surface, such a vinyl flooring, it can help protect against damage and prolong the life of the hardcoat and sealers that you invest a lot of money to keep looking good and giving that important first impression to future customers.
THE PROFESSIONALS EYE
Taking pride in your own work may have the draw back of wanting to give that little bit extra, that a customer may not noticed, but having the professional eye means that I can notice the difference between a sealed floor with a quality product compared to a cheap one.
Using a quality sealer for instance means that the floor could be at the best shine available as well as the added benefit of a higher resistance of being worn down with heavy foot traffic which will make the life of your sealed floor last longer and save you money.
We will not jeopardise our customers floors just to make an extra sale in a floor service, just like we will not jeopardise our quality of work to earn that extra bit of profit. We believe in making long-lasting relationships of trust with our customers that will give them piece of mind when they hand over keys to their property for us to service.
This may sound counter-intuitive for a business model, but we are here to offer our customers the best results and provide them value that keeps them happy and referring back to us for future work and passing on recommendations to friends and business associates as they hold us as a valued service provider.
The search will continue to combine the tricks of the trade and experience I have acquired over the years with the best products to always ensure the best quality job for my customers.
Do you have a favourite product or tool that helps you perform a quality job?
It can be hard to get the attention of a prospect customer when the market is saturated with other businesses in your field trying to market the same thing.
Everyone is trying to outbid and undercut each other resulting in the customer being bombarded with “buy this” , “no buy that” and it all can get a little be overwhelming.
It is like throwing fresh meat into a tank full of sharks – every shark will fight its way to the meat but in the end only one will be victorious and have its meal. ’
You need to set yourself apart from all the other sharks in that tank.
The trick is to form a relationship with the customer BEFORE they are ready to buy.
This idea might sound strange, but you need to remember that you not trying to attract customers that want to buy right now. Content marketing is about attracting customers who are looking to buy in the future – it may be a few weeks, 6 months or even a year down the track. You want them to choose you before they have chosen when they want to buy.
Not all visitors who come to your website will be looking to buy today. They might be just thinking about whether they need your service, or just doing research on the product before committing to buy – whatever the case is, this is the vital moment that you need to act and secure them as a future customer.
THE MOUNTAIN CLIMBER
Think of the process as climbing a mountain.
The climber starts at the bottom and is ready to start that climb. The climb is long and tedious, and they have multiple rest stops along the way to reevaluate their thoughts and to choose the next best path to take.
They finally make it to the summit, exhausted and thirsty – they look around for a water source but are instead surrounded by retailers all trying to sell the climber their water – all trying to speak over each other to sell the climber on why their water is the better choice.
In this situation, imagine the climber as a future prospect. They are on a journey to buy a product or service. When they commit to proceeding with their choice all they come against are offers from every direction and this usually results in them being overwhelmed and just choosing the first business who offers a deal that looks good to them.
Your goal is to be with them on that journey. You climb with them, and on the way you offer them water and snacks to make that climb easier. Doing this not only will make the journey easier for the prospect but it will instil in them a sense of trust in you and by the time they are ready to buy they will have already have chosen you.
You need to form that relationship BEFORE they become a customer.
You can ajudst the Hemingway Iceberg theory to describe this;
The basics behind this theory is that the tip of an iceberg is only 10% of what you see – below the surface is the majority of the iceberg, and thus thats were the majority of your work ie. customer relations, networking, value takes place. The tip of the iceberg ie. acquiring the customer and future work is the outcome of the hard work that you put in behind the scenes.
3 WAYS TO MAXIMISE CONTENT MARKETING
1. BLOG: Educate, Show, Teach.
Blogging is a good way to provide value and to demonstrate expertise in a particular field. Creating blog posts to educate, show and teach is a good for future customer acquisition as it not only educates them more on a certain topic, but it builds you up as a professional in their eyes.
Posts that “educate” will provide value to your audience by giving them the tools and knowledge which will help them make the right decisions and have the understanding of what they will be getting when they choose you or a third-party business.
Posts that “show” will convey to your audience the processes you take in completing your tasks. This will not only have the added benefit of teaching, but will also demonstrate your quality of work, not only in the finish product but in the steps leading up to it.
Posts that “teach” will bestow knowledge onto your audience, giving them skills when trying to take on the tasks themselves or place them on more of a even playing ground when interacting with a business they are choosing to go with.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA: Interact
Use social media platforms like twitter, Snapchat, Instagram to interact with potential customers.
Use the Search feature to find people asking questions relevant to your field of expertise and do what others are failing to doand reply to them. Take advantage of step one and write a blogs answering the questions being asked and link the blog In the tweet.
People will value the personal touch that this brings to them are will be more likely to return or recommend you to people in the future.
Use platforms like Snapchat or Instagram to show short educational videos or photos of work that you do and the process you take in completing certain tasks. You can also use these platforms to build a personal connection by showing more of your private life and how it equates to the work that you do.
3. SHOW AUTHORITY: Teach
Teaching is a good way to show authority in your field and to form trust in you as a business or personal brand. Teaching can be done in via blog or vlog (video blog) just like mentioned in step one, but what I am referring to in here is providing a course or workshop to teach.
A course is a good way to go more in depth in topics and provide value that you can’t just do in a blog post or social media post. A course can be in written or video format and should be easy to follow by your audience.
A workshop is a more personal way to providing value. These can be done in-person or online, usually live but you can make a replay accessible at a later date on your website. The advantage of workshops is that you can interact with your audience to give a personal touch that a course doesn’t allow.
The added benefit of courses and workshops is that they can be a income stream. Courses and workshops can take a lot of time to produce, so why not charge for your time and expertise?
The purpose of Content Marketing is to provide value and start building a relationship is your audience before they become your customer.so you become the best and only choice when they need your service.
What methods or social platforms do you use to interact and build bonds with your audience? Are there any that you think I should be paying attention to?
The market is changing. In the world of business and entrepreneurship, people are starting to niche down, focusing on one aspect in the industry and becoming a expert in their field. If you are a business who isn’t following that trend, and provide multiple services then it is even more important that you focus on your attention to detail.
Attention to detail in your work will not only raise the quality of the service you offer, but give you that edge to stand out from your competitors – and if you are in an industry which the market is saturated in then it is for your benefit to take these points into consideration.
PRIDE IN YOUR WORK
When you provide a product or service with a high level of attention to detail, not only does it portray you as a premium service, but it also shows the customer that you have pride in your business and in your work. It defines a level or care you put into your work that you wont find in someone who doesn’t like their job or portrays a lower work ethic.
Hard to notice from the front, but it’s the little details that matter.
This perception of pride and quality not only reinforces to your customer that you are the right person for the job, but also installs a sense of trust that you will provide the best service possible.
THE EYE FOR DETAIL
Attention to detail in whatever task you perform also has the benefit to show your customer that you have an eye in noticing the little details. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, having that eye for detail in your work will not only reinforce your professionalism and knowledge in your field, but will raise the quality and value of your work that you provide to your customers.
The dirt under the desk draws the eye as you enter [ Click to enlarge ]
The eye for detail demonstrates that you are not only good at your job but also have the skills that places you as an expert, giving them the peace of mind that they will receive the best service – and a higher quality service – and that they have made the right choice in choosing you.
If you want your business to stand out, to attract and keep customers then having that attention to detail will give your customer that premium experience .
This premium experience you are giving your customers is not only giving a lasting impression leading to repeat business, but also places you in the positive with the value you are offering (see Why you should be charging more today ).
THE WOW EFFECT
Have you ever walked into a room, or have been given a product and there was something about the look of it that you couldn’t put your finger on?
You can see that it is of a good quality but you just cant pin it down, it just makes you say “wow”.
The iPhone for example, with the specifically engineered curves of the edges, the seamless integration of the screen to the case of the phone, moulded so it fits perfectly in your hand.
The attention to detail in the iPhone design
The hours of thought that went into the sound the iPhone makes when you unlock it, all the little aspects that you may not obviously notice but enhances your user experience.
The attention to detail you give to your service or product takes it to the next level, and although it may not always be noticeable or appreciated it will bring to your product or service a increased impression of quality in the mind of your customers – that will position you above your competitors.
In business you want to offer the best service and value that you possibly can, and sometimes this is more then just using the best – equipment, products, materials – but those little touches that you don’t see in budget businesses.
Take your business to the next level and offer the next level of service and experience for your customers – show the pride you have in what you do and let that reflect in the product you offer.
Have you noticed products or services that show their pride in the attention to detail they provide? Do you go above and beyond to provide the best experience in your business?
In my previous post You Should Be Charging More Today I outlined the reasons you should she be giving your customers more value to stand out from your competitors and to start charging more for your services. In this post I will be outlining a few methods that you could implement into you routine TODAY to start exceeding your customers expectations and begin leaving good impressions on the customers mind.
THE CUSTOMER FOLLOW-UP
The customer follow-up is a basic premise, but one that is a good habit to get in to.
After you have finished your service or sold your product, follow up with your client via a phone-call or email to find out how they found their experience with you or your service. This will show that you value your customers and will help you improve your service if any negative feedback is received.
Some good questions to ask are;
How did you find your experience with our company?
Were you happy with the product or service that you received
Did the product or service meet your expectations
Would you recommend us to a friend if the opportunity arose?
… and if you receive negative feedback for any of the questions above then you MUST follow up with this question;
“I am sorry to hear that you were not happy with our service/product, can you please let us know what you found unsatisfactory so we can make sure future customer experiences will be better.”
This will show your customers that you are human and can accept that you make mistakes and want to improve yourself and your business.
And finally, follow up with that customer in 6-months time and ask them how they are fairing in the current situation involving the service you offer. Chances are that if they are not happy with their current service or still struggling that they may give you a second chance.
LEAVE A THANK-YOU GIFT ON THE TABLE
Your aim is to exceed your customers expectations and stand out from your competition, and one thing you don’t see very often are those little touches that makes the customers experiences a great one.
Try the following on your next job;
1. THE THANK-YOU CARD.
With every new customer, leave a Thank-You card on the table after your job is completed. The card should have a hand-written note thanking them for the opportunity for working for them and if there is anything else they need, then to contact you.
2. THE GIFT
Leave a small box of chocolates with your thank-you card. This will sweeten up the day of your customer.
Leave on the table, a gift of flowers. This will look nice and make the place smell good and leave a good impression on your clients mind when they get home and the place is smelling lovley.
POST OUT A THANK YOU CARD (on the same day)
On the same day that you finish the job, post out a thank you card to your client. This will ensure that they will receive it a day or two after the job is done.
Include in this card a hand-written thank you note along with a gift card. The gift card could for the cinemas, coffee shop, or clothes outlet. Choose a retailer you think will suit them.
This is a simple yet effective gift. Each time they use the gift card to purchase something, they will think of you. There is also a chance that if they are with friends while purchasing, they will bring up how they go the gift card which is the side benefit of positive word-of-mouth.
Using the gift-card will also bring back good memories of the fantastic service you provided.
Christmas comes but once a year, why not spread the joy with a small Christmas hamper for your long and short term customers.
Christmas hampers are a easy and fun way to say thank you to your customers.
For long term commercial clients, why not leave a hamper filled with a assorted snacks, tea and coffee. This can be placed in the middle of the staff kitchen table and can be shared with their staff throughout the season weeks.
For domestic clients, leave a smaller hamper of assorted snacks, aromatic items like candles and bath soaps. This will also leave a pleasant scent in the house.
For the clients that are not regulars, a small box of chocolates will be a nice way to say thank you for past business opputunites and will bring you back in to their minds for future prospects.
How do you exceed your customers expectations? Do you have any tips on how to add value to your customers?
In my previous post Stop Paying Lower Prices TODAY, I talked about how you should change your mindset on how you think about finding the Best Price over the Lowest Price when it comes to goods and services.
In this post I will be outlining some of the benefits for you as a business for implementing these ideas and to start charging more for your services…. TODAY!
DOMINATING THE BOTTOM OF THE MARKET WILL AFFECT YOUR GROWTH
It seems nobel to believe that you can be the fair and honest business person that will not over-charge your customers and give them a fair and cheap price for your services. Although it may seem like a good idea, this is a mindset you need to change if you want to provide true value while making your business grow.
Charging a fair price in comparison to a cheap price means that you are not compromising the perceived value of your work as people correlate cheap prices with cheap quality, but it also makes sure that your knowledge and expertise is being compensated and you are taking the right steps in making your business grow.
Here are some points you should be considering;
Over-charging is not the same as Value Based Pricing.
Low prices may affect quality of work.
Saying No means you can say Yes to better opportunities.
If you want to charge a premium price, offer a premium experience.
Longevity in low price bidding.
Lets take a look at these points in more detail.
1. OVER-CHARGING IS NOT THE SAME AS VALUE BASED PRICING.
People believe that if you offer a service that is priced higher then the average in your area, that you are over-charging or trying to make a greedy profit off your customers. To show your customers that this isn’t the case, you will have to show them the value you provide over your competitors.
Value Based Pricing is based on the idea that the services you are offering, or the benefit your customer receives due to the service you have offered exceeds their initial investment in you. Some points to keep in mind;
The value you offer your customer in your service should over exceed their expectations.
The potential increase in your customers profit margin due to the service you provide should reflect in the price of your service.
DO NOT use this as an excuse to abuse the idea to over-charge for the value you are providing.
You may think that you or your employee’s will be okay with working at close to cost price on services but the truth is that the quality of work will suffer.
Once the excitement of winning a bid has subsided and you are faced with long days of working low profit contracts you will find yourself sacrificing your quality of work and begin cutting corners just to get that job done.
I’ve seen people quote $20 for clearing out overgrown yards on community forums! That equates to at best $5 a hour before taxes when you take into consideration the time and disposal of clippings and shrubs. How long can that be sustainable before it feels overwhelming?
And the problem is that it can be hard to tell a long term customer that you want to raise prices or quit, so you end up stuck in this job that you start to hate until your quality of work diminishes and the customer ends the contract leaving in their mind a bad impression of you.
3. SAYING “NO” MEANS YOU CAN SAY “YES” TO BETTER OPPORTUNITIES.
There is a saying that has become popular in todays society when it comes to trying to grow your business;
“Grab whatever job you can”
Sure, grabbing every contract that comes your way is a easy way to grow your portfolio of clients, but are they really the right clients for you?
It may be hard to turn down a job when you are looking to grow your business but you really need to consider the type of jobs you are saying yes to.
“Saying No means you can say Yes to better opportunities.” This statement couldn’t be any more accurate. You need to fight for contracts that are a good fit for you, not what is convenient.
You can’t say Yes to a good contract if you cant fit it in to your schedule thats filled with smaller bad-fit contracts.
Remember: 1 great, high profit and well fitting contract could take the place of 2 or 3 smaller, less profitable contracts. Not only will you be doing one-third of the work, but you will have open space in your schedule to fit in more of these profitable contracts. Doesn’t that sound like the better option?
4. IF YOU WANT TO CHARGE A PREMIUM PRICE, OFFER A PREMIUM EXPERIENCE.
This doesn’t just mean buy expensive equipment or use expensive products. A premium experience is not just giving the customer the what you promised, but it is providing them extra value, the extra little touches that makes your interaction with them a memorable experience.
A premium experience can be summed up in one phrase;
The value you give should exceed the customers expectations.
Let me say that again;
The VALUE you give should exceed the customers expectations.
When the value you give your customer exceeds their expectations then it reinforces in the customers mind that you are a company that takes pride and cares about their clients. More importantly it makes them feel special that you took the extra care to go up and beyond what was promised to give them that experience. (Check back next week for ways to offer a premium experience)
This will not only leave a good impression in their minds about you and your company, but you are more likely to get repeat business and referrals.
LONGEVITY IN LOW PRICE BIDDING
One of the concepts often missed when considering low bids on contracts is the longevity abstained from winning these contracts.
If you want a quick job for the short term then low bids are for you. If you are looking for long term clients to offer value and build bonds with, then avoid at all costs.
A client that is after the lowest price will most likely only keep you around until next lower price comes along. This may be in a few months or in a year, but it will happen.
So why waste your time in short term projects when you can build up to bigger long lasting contracts that will value you just as you value them?
COMPETE FOR VALUE NOT PRICE
There will always be someone out there who will be able to outbid you on price. Competing on price just means you are another pawn in the fight against kings.
Instead of competing on Price, compete on Value.
Find out what your competitors are not doing but should be:
For example, As a Wedding photographer do you have multiple backups of the photos you take in case something happens to them before you send out your client the final product? This will give a potential client peace of mind, but other Photographers may not do this or promote this feature when trying to sell their services.
Ask business owners about the problems (relating to your field of work) that they are facing in their business or at home and implement solutions to those answers into your repertoire of services. These points can be used as a selling point for new bids.
Ask your current Clients about problems they face in their business or at home and come up with solutions you can implement into your services.
Take those extra steps to stand out in the crowd when you making a bid for a new contract and you will come across that you know the clients pains and struggles and you are the only company that will be able to fix the problem.
…and sometimes that is more valuable then a low price.
Have you come across any businesses that have exceeded your expectations? Do you have anything to add on the topic of giving your customers more value?
“Why would I not pay the lowest price I can find?”
The race to the bottom is a very real and scary idea that we are experiencing now more then ever. Everyone is trying to beat the next competitor with lower and lower prices and at some point it will hit its breaking point.
Now of course the situation isn’t that dire, but it is becoming common practice that the lowest price is one of the deciding factors when choosing a service professional. With the advent of the internet it is even easier now to shop around and find businesses that will undercut the previous offer to win the bid.
This post is the first in a series of posts I like to call “The Today Collection”, in which I will be outlining things you can do today, before you go to sleep, to help change your mindset and bring value to your life or business.
FINDING THE BEST PRICE OVER THE LOWEST PRICE.
Now we need to make a distinction between the Best Price and Lowest Price.
Lowest Price is the minimal value you can find on a product or service that is chosen based on the core features that you are looking for. No considerations are taken into place about the quality or value you receive. It is a 1 to 1 transaction between you and the other party.
Best Price on the other hand takes in to consideration many factors to rank it on the scale of perceived value. In this instance the change in value is swayed in your favor.
The extra value you receive may include;
The quality of the product or service
Extra features or bonuses
A better overall experience
In essence, you are receiving more value then you are paying for.
Sally hires a cleaning technician to do the average home clean that includes the basic service list of kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms and living room. While on site the technician notices the kitchen appliances are made out of stainless steel and are tarnishing from age.
Even though its not part of the service, the technician uses a stainless steel oil solution to clean all the stainless steel surfaces removing any tarnished areas and buffs them to a mirror shine. Before leaving the property he leaves a little bottle of this stainless steel cleaner with his Thank you note on the kitchen table so Sally can maintain and keep her stainless steel appliances shiny and tarnish free.
Sally’s experience with this cleaning technician will be memorable. The value she received was more then her investment in the cleaning and if she went with another company for the cheaper price, the attention to detail wouldn’t be there.
THE EFFECTS ON SMALL BUSINESS
In our current economic climate, it is important to keep in mind that people are starting to struggle. Smaller businesses are not able to compete with individuals who are offering services or products for near to no profit.
Now, the answer to smaller businesses is to change what they are doing. They need to evolve as the market evolves; after all its the market that decides what they are willing to pay. Businesses have to make themselves stand out with their work and offering, but the problem at hand is that the market losing focus on what value you and in turn they are robbing themselves of the experience and value you could be receiving.. all to save a few dollars.
FACEBOOK COMMUNITY FORUMS
Facebook classified groups are a great way to buy and sell used or new products to people in your local area. Although they may not have insurances that eBay provide when you receive a faulty or not-as-advertised item, they are easily to communicate with and can at times be more open as you can see the sellers Facebook Profile Page.
These forums also have become a free way to advertise your business, as people request services they need, and usually offers come by with incredibly low prices.
This may sound beneficial to some but you need to take into consideration some of the factors when choosing a low bid service on Facebook;
Are they a qualified and registered business?
If [NO] then are you risking your safety hiring a stranger off Facebook?
if [NO] do they have insurances in-case something happens to you or your property?
What sacrifices in quality are you losing in return for a low price?
These are some important questions you need to ask before sending that message to someone offering a low cost solution. Weigh out the Pros and Cons and find out what is the best value for you.
Don’t rob yourself of value. Focus on what will be the best option for you for the right price. You get what you pay for is a saying people use, and it couldn’t be more true…. and i think its time we all brought in value into our lives.
Do you think people have lost focus on quality and value over price? Have you seen or personally had a bad experience due to choosing cheap prices?