After living for too long with substandard wireless connectivity at home I decided to install a commercial-grade wireless system. Thanks to the Luxul industry accommodation program I was able to secure a whopping 1000 mW high output wireless access point and contacted Darren, a local integrator, to install it. During the course of system configuration I struck up a conversation with Darren and learned that his business is at a 15-year high point in sales. However, Darren cautioned that bids are becoming harder than ever to win and cited an example of a recent conference room bid where the client requested name-brand equipment and then cross-shopped every item on the bid against lower internet prices. Realizing that performing the job at low prices left him little attainable margin, Darren declined the job and retracted his bid.
This leads me to a question for you: As a residential systems integrator, how would you complete this sentence? “If I keep doing what I’ve always done…”
Some might reply, “I’ll keep getting what I always have.” But I have a different opinion. The truth in our business is that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you are likely to end up with less than you ever have. The reasoning for this counter-intuitive stance is simple. Technology is advancing quickly, the bid process is becoming more competitive, and customers are sharpening their buying skills like never before. You’ve got to keep up with these shifting sands just to stay whole.
That leads me to another question. “What will you do differently to accelerate your sales and profitability going forward?”
If you replied, “Sell value in place of products and services,” then you’re on the right track. Selling value is a technique used to neutralize price objections in customer’s minds. While price is probably the objection you encounter most often, I argue that in many cases it is not as valid as you may believe. When you use the principles in what is often termed value-added or value-based selling you can help your customer see it is really not all about the price and you can overcome price objections to build lasting customer relationship that benefit both you and your customers over time.
To begin selling value and maximizing your productivity try a few of these tips:
Selling value is never easy, but it is certainly a proven and effective science. Give it a try on your next few bids and see the difference for yourself. 1 Familiarize yourself with the philosophy of selling value over price. There are books, seminars and YouTube quickies on the topic that will make you aware of the basics and entice you to become more proficient in the process. Google “Value-Added Selling,” or “Value-Based Selling” and see what comes up.
2 Realize that price is easy for customers to assess while value is elusive, frequently needing to be pointed out. With that in mind, make a conscious effort to shift your message from what you sell to the value you provide. In doing so you will naturally elevate the focus of your sales process to emphasize unique value as a differentiating factor and set you apart from competitors.
3 Use customer-centric speak in communicating this value. Frame your added value in several segments that are customer relevant: a) Describe the solution you provide to meet your customer’s needs, b) Explain that you will tailor products and services to fit your customers exact needs, c) Point out that your price is reasonable and that you will provide exceptional customer service.
4 Communicate your value in person. Most integrators today simply send a bid via e-mail. Instead, I’d suggest that you send an on-line invitation to a bid presentation that your potential customers can accept and share on-line while you explain the subtle nuances, i.e., value. There are a variety of online meeting sites to facilitate this. I happen to like Go To Meeting because of its ease of use.
5 Remember that selling value is not a cost justification. Make your presentation more of a consultation and walk your potential customer through your thinking in system design, installation time as well as the reassurances you offer. Doing so will encourage your prospective customer to believe that you see things differently and approach them in a unique yet effective way. When the price is revealed, your potential customer will be thinking about more than just getting products a low prices, which paves the way for you to preserve your margins.
Selling value is never easy, but it is certainly a proven and effective science. Give it a try on your next few bids and see the difference for yourself.