Have Just the Rules Changed? Is it a Whole New Game?
Everyone in our industry must be defining their value proposition and living it. What is a "value proposition"? It is the unique value a business offers to its customers. It's why your customers will want to do business with you. This is an exercise that requires deep, hard soul-searching and thought. It's not a "one and done" exercise either. Here is your challenge—come up with five ways that you and/or your company is different from anything your clients and prospects have ever experienced before. When you can do that, you will have accomplished the two things that will allow you to flourish in any economy, in any market. You will have totally differentiated yourself and you will be awesomely relevant to the needs of your customers.
Can you charge for your services, knowledge and expertise? Yes, but only if you have the knowledge, expertise and skills and only if you value it and only if you are different enough and relevant enough for your customers to want to pay for it. No one continues to pay for something they can get for free. Check your website and your marketing materials. Does it look just like your competitors? Does it communicate that you sell stuff? In this new economy, people will not pay a premium price for a commodity.
Become the expert in a product niche, a service niche, a program niche. Set yourself apart by being very, very good at solving specific business problems. Find the pain points and be the aspirin. Here's the thing: Problem solvers always make money. There are many problems that need to be solved. Your clients need to increase sales, market share and profits. They need to recruit and retain the best talent and create a culture and environment where people can thrive and deliver. They need to turn their customers into raving, loyal fans who love the experience and want to come back and tell others about it.