This post is “inspired” by two separate (but related) factors.
The first involves an email from a prospective client who had a few questions about our services. The second involves a comment by Dan Kennedy in one of his books (repeated at the seminar I attended in New York a month ago).
First, the email we received from a potential client. I won’t quote the entire message here, for obvious reasons…
I have to admit I was a little surprised by the monthly fee and ran it by a woman I know who does this same type of work and she said that your prices were “too high.”
Well, for starters, one of the presuppositions of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) states that the meaning of communication is the response you get. Clearly, I did not communicate the key points of differentiation between our service and those of web developers.
Articulating, and using, your USP
But here’s the deeper issue, as it relates to most businesses.
Beyond articulating your USP – (or “unique selling proposition” — a must according to many, including top copywriter John Carlton) – there is NO need (or logical reason) to market your business like your competitors. And yes, price is a function of marketing, not of “materials & time.”
Yet, that is what many folks do.
See, your USP is supposed to differentiate you from other businesses like yours. That’s the point. And it’s function is not simply to help you get a new client or customer.
It’s also about positioning.
And that is related to how much you’re able to charge for your services.
For example, why would I want to price my services like my competitors?
- What’s the reason?
- To copy them?
- How did “they” arrive at their price?
- By copying other folks like themselves?
What’s the point of that!
Price vs. Value
Dan Kennedy makes a very good point (backed by statistics) that price is NOT the chief reason someone buys, unless you give them no other reason for making a decision. If you fail to create value for your clients and leave them with “nothing else” but price… well, welcome to Walmart.
Price is never the issue, unless you have failed to communicate value.
As I pointed out in my reply to the potential customer cited above, here’s why we’re different (in no particular order)…
- Build or optimize a site designed to maximize web conversion
- Tailor a social networking campaign to drive “organic” traffic and create a larger online “footprint”
- Help with info-product development, including product splintering
- Market discovery of niche to optimize online web-business results.
Not what your typical “web developer” does. Anyhow…
Here’s the chief point.
You shouldn’t “copy” your competitors with regards to pricing. In fact, why not charge more? As long as you can deliver the goods, that is.
For example, in another business (outsourced billing service for attorneys) the very first client that we signed up, when it came to discussing price, never even blinked when he heard the quote. It was beyond reasonable.
Do you want to know what my first thought was? To be honest, I was kicking myself because clearly “I should be charging more for this service.” And that’s because the value provided far exceeded the cost for the service.
You do NOT want to work in a “zero-resistance” mode, because all that means is that your price is too low to even be considered an issue. OUCH!
Secondly, you should not copy the marketing efforts of your competitors, unless what they’re doing is WORKING. More often than not, however, what they ARE doing is not working. And more often than not, the results are never even considered when someone goes into “copy cat” mode.
They are simply following the herd because no other reason was given to think and act differently.
Just to let you know, the above referenced person above, after a face to face meeting, had this to say:
“Thank you so much for meeting with me today. It was extremely helpful. I also thought of another service I may be able to market via the web. Lots to do and talk about. I am very excited to be working with you. How do we proceed from here?”
That, in my book, is getting it done
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