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April 1, 2005

5 Min Read
Why Play the Price Game?

In today’s marketplace, developing and maintaining an objective advantage over the competition can seem next to impossible. Why? Because from a customer’s perspective, similar product and service offerings are basically the same.Unless you have a distinct advantage, you must create a competitive advantage by creating a value perception that goes beyond your product or service a value-added proposition. Demonstrating your value-added competitive advantage during the sales process is difficult, because traditionally, the emphasis of competitive advantage has been service, and the only way for a prospect to experience your service is to actually become a customer. And to get a prospect to become a customer, you have to be able to positively differentiate your company’s service from the competition during the sales process.Therefore, to maximize your sales, your revenue and your profit potential, you need to create a value-added proposition and perception. In other words, your entire offering, including the way you sell, has to be set up in a way that the customer sees you as being positively different from the competition.To make the most of every point of contact, consider the following.1. Make Customers Feel You Understand Their Critical IssuesAt every point of contact, you must make the prospect or customer feel listened to and understood. But because all organizations strive for that, the usual techniques have lost their impact. For example, almost every organization uses active listening techniques, such as summarizing the customer’s question or concern. As a result, when you talk to a customer service or sales representative, you can usually hear him or her using the techniques on you. But when everyone is doing it, the competitive advantage disappears.Go beyond the usual active listening techniques to rise above the competition. Rather than parroting back answers, you can uncover your customers critical issues, help them think about these issues differently and get them to perceive you as having a solution. When your customers and prospects feel like you truly understand their issues and challenges, they will see more value in your organization’s services.2. Demonstrate the Added ValueEvery time customers or prospects come into contact with one of your representatives, you want them to believe they received some value from the experience. So, help your prospects and customers gain some new insight or identify an underlying problem. This means doing whatever you can to establish yourself as a thought leader by demonstrating a deeper understanding of your prospects and customers critical issues, and bringing new ideas and information that specifically pertain to those issues.For example, every time you meet with a customer or prospect, uncover and provide a solution to an issue, or bring some information the other party will find helpful. Strive to demonstrate your value by helping the prospect or customer gain new insights into the issues that challenge them.3. Be Consistent in Your Customer ContactWhen you don’t establish consistent positive contact with your customers and prospects, you lose opportunities to create and maintain your competitive advantage. Many sales professionals say and do everything right to sign a new customer such as following up regularly, explaining the details and answering all the questions but after landing the sale, the representative often doesn’t maintain contact and virtually drops off the planet.This inconsistency is common, both on the prospecting and customer service sides of sales. However, if you maintain consistent, value-added contact you will create a competitive advantage because you’re doing something no one else does.4. Identify Unseen ProblemsBeyond dealing with the obvious needs, if you help customers or prospects identify potential and existing problems, then you can put yourself lightyears ahead of the competition.Only about one in 10 prospects has an active need for your services. The key to maximizing your results is to leverage the other 90 percent. Accomplish this by doing more development work. Take your point-of-contact opportunities to the next level by looking for symptoms your prospects and customers experience, but for which they cant find the cause. If you can engage your prospects and customers at that level, you jump ahead of the competition. Ask the right questions to gain deeper insight into the hidden issues and get customers to realize how those issues impact their businesses and lives.5. Provide All Your Resources to the CustomerOnce you’ve done all the development work and brought in the customer, you must continue to offer added value. The more you can present the full resources of your organization to the customer, the more valuable you are. Introduce customers to your full line of solutions and make additional information readily available. Don’t focus on your products and services; rather focus on how to solve your customers critical issues. Do this and they will continue to see the added value in your institution.To maintain a pricing advantage and to avoid lowering your price, you must create a value-added perception by leveraging your points of contact. Remember, you have to do what your competition isn’t doing. People only will see you as valuably different and be willing to pay more for you if they believe they get something of value they can’t get anywhere else.The steps in this article are important in selling to prospects and even more important when you’re expanding an existing customer relationship. When you use these techniques to demonstrate your added value, you won’t have to play the price game to maintain your competitive advantage. Customers and prospects will be willing to pay more for your products and services because they’ll know you’re more valuable than everyone else in the market.About the AuthorBill Gager is a consultant, speaker and coach who has worked with some of the nations top organizations to leverage the power of their potential to maximize their results from every customer point of contact opportunity and customer relationship. For more information, call +1 877 800 7284 or visit www.gagerinternational.com.

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