We’ve spoken before about the importance of communicating value to your customers. Value is not an absolute – it is a mystery to solve. While you may think your solutions offers incredible value, a customer might not agree. They could have different pain points, different needs, or simply different priorities.
Due to the challenges presented by COVID, buyers are pushing back even harder against propositions that they feel don’t offer great value. As they struggle to restart, they want to save money wherever they can, and many will choose to start saving money at the procurement level.
Given that we want to maintain loyalty, and we too need the business following COVID, often the easiest solution is to cave on price. With our backs to the wall, it often seems like the easiest solution is to offer expensive (to us) incentives or large discounts.
We might be nervous about increasing our prices, even though there is a dire need. Raw materials may be more expensive, logistics infrastructure may be overburdened, and our costs may have increased. Such external factors mean that absorbing prices to keep a customer’s business might seem smart in the short term, but will impact our bottom lines in the long term.
What can we do about it?
Understand the Value We Bring
First, we need to understand the value that we bring to the other side. To do that, we need to understand what they value, and what they don’t value, about our proposition. Asking searching questions to uncover and solve the value mystery is vital if we are to properly communicate our value to our customers.
By asking questions, we can understand how value drivers have changed over the past 12 to 18 months. What a customer valued in 2019 might not be what they value in 2021 now that the entire business world has undergone a forced change to the way things are done. While the ‘new normal’ is unlikely to last forever, elements of it will potentially become part of everyday life. We should continually validate our understanding of our customer’s needs and ensure we listen 100%.
Understand Our Customer’s Perception of Value
We need to understand their new pain points and challenges, and how they affect our customer’s perception of value. A business facing an uphill struggle will be willing to sacrifice premium services to get what they need right now. Let’s say tomorrow your smartphone broke. You’d probably consider it important to replace it but perhaps you’ve had a bad few months and can’t afford the flagship model. Consequently, you’d settle for a less fancy device out of necessity. Businesses think the same way.
Build Advocates Within Our Client
We should also find those in the client organisation who genuinely care about our value, and build relationships with them. There is no better advocate for our business than a strong voice within our customer. Someone who cares about our offer is more likely to present a compelling case for the organisation to continue working with us. They will have more time to pitch our offer. Consequently, we need to ensure that the advocates in the client organisation are fully furnished with the details about what we can offer so that they can make the strongest possible case for us.
Help Our Customer Understand Us
Furthermore, we need to consider the language that we use. Have you ever read a complicated or technical document? While the information is probably important, it’s cumbersome and even annoying to read. We don’t want to be boring or irritating our customers right now with language they don’t understand. It is vital that we simplify our pitches and presentations, not only to make sure that we convey our offer easily but to effectively drive deep into the heart of the matter.
Finally, we need to differentiate ourselves from competitors which means we need to evaluate what our competitors offer and honestly assess our strengths and weaknesses. When customers are mostly focused on price, if we’re not the cheapest option in the market then we need to be equipped to defend our price and make a compelling argument that the additional short term expense is worth the long term gain.
How Robin Lines Associates Can Help
If your organisation is struggling with price challenges, communicating value, and finds itself being beaten by competitors when it comes to winning business, we offer several Value Communication programmes tailored to your specific needs.
Contact Us for more information.