‘The ABC factor’ is the only way to fight price competition and rise to the highest level of service.
Everyone knows, or should know, that ‘price’ is a key factor in business, so we shouldn’t blame customers for choosing lower costs if they can access the products they require that offer quality and reasonable service. But just as the price of a book is on the back cover and not the front cover, ‘price has its place’, and this is as it should be in the world of supplier competition. Conversely, the front cover of a book reveals the promise and appeal to the potential reader, and so the question for you is straightforward: what is the equivalent of your front cover promise and attraction to the market you serve?
Do you offer a service promise that represents an Advantage Beyond Cost…or is your service offering perceived by people to be similar or the same as most other optometry offerings?
In my line of business I am up against ‘price competition’ all the time, in the sense that I know certain speakers and trainers will offer fees that are much lower than mine… and I know there is a chance that potential customers will easily find this out if they look around. Accordingly, I make a point of focusing on addressing performance improvement ideas that I know will introduce new and significant ‘advantages’ that regular, less expensive speakers/trainers will not cover… or even know about.
We are human and therefore capable of rising as far above the weariness and dreariness of predictable, pedestrian marketing as we wish to go…
It is important then not only to know what your competitors will offer, but also what they will not offer that is needed by the market… thus leaving an unattended and large second market gap for you to specialise in. This is the ABC factor in selling, available for use by small, medium or large practices, depending on how they wish to position themselves in the market.
It’s the same story in everyday life for individuals in the corporate world: you can look like most others or choose your own profile; you can talk and behave like most others or choose your own persona and personality; you can think and study business like most others or put in far more effort; you can limit your association to people with limited qualities, or link yourself with high-achievers.
So this argument that ‘we can’t win because we are being undersold’ simply means you are operating in almost exactly the same way as lesser performers. This is like being a prisoner and one’s own jailer at the same time! We are human and therefore capable of rising as far above the weariness and dreariness of predictable, pedestrian marketing as we wish to go. It all starts with professional passion, as opposed to now and then hype.
Pleasure First, Price Last
A few years ago I wrote a book entitled The Ultimate Marketing Challenge: To Create and Sell the 3rd Result, and this line of thought strongly suggested there are only three forms of result that can be created and sold to any market… remembering that customers buy results and pay for products.
The first result is what the market expects in quality and service, the second result is the same as the first result with small extras… such as slightly lower prices, slightly better service or convenience, and the third result provides what the market expects, but also much more than anticipated – in the form of valuable ideas that help people in ways they welcome, appreciate and ‘need’.
There is nothing wrong in using lower prices to create specials that will motivate people to beat a path to your door, but it is what happens when these people enter your practice that matters more. Liquor stores for example are very good at using ‘specials’ to increase customer traffic… but they are very bad at serving in special ways when faced with more customers. I know of one optometry practice that has a 50 per cent drop in average dollar sales during their busiest times. It is worth remembering: there is a profound difference between being busy and successful.
Using the ABC factor you can rise to the highest level of service: ‘sell pleasure first… price last!’
John Lees is a sales and marketing specialist, operating as a professional speaker, trainer, consultant, business coach. He is the author of 11 books on business development. Email: [email protected] Website: www.johnlees.com.au