Trusted Adviser or Commodity Seller: Which One Are You?
Do your clients value you as a trusted adviser or do they see you as just another commodity seller? You're stuck in the commodity seller trap when clients and prospects see little or no difference between your promotional products and services and all the other promotional products companies out there.
When that happens, the central issue becomes the price. If your clients are constantly trying to beat your price down, they may be viewing you as just another commodity seller. And if all you are is a commodity seller, as soon as someone comes along with a lower price, you're out of the picture.
Here's what will make a difference... when prices and products are similar, the difference is you!
Forget about focusing on the promotional products you sell and instead focus on the value you bring to your clients.
How can you provide more value and become a trusted adviser?
1. Build relationships. People buy from others they know, like and trust. The relationship comes before the sale. In today's high tech world it's easy to hide behind a computer, but not wise. Get out of the office and get in front of your prospects. Large Internet-based companies can't provide the personalized one-on-one contact that you can. Focus on educating your prospects and helping them make the right choice. This goes a long way in building loyalty and customers for life.
2. Provide ideas. Compete by providing fresh ideas, instead of just pushing products, share new ideas, marketing tips and case histories. Let your creativity shine. Develop a case history file and let your clients know what has worked for other similar companies.
3. Develop niche market expertise. In today's highly competitive economy, people want to do business with experts. And experts make more money and are more sought after than generalists. Having expertise in a profitable niche market can dramatically increase your sales. Thoroughly understand your prospects' and clients' business challenges. Research them on the Internet. Know who their competitors are. Understand their sales cycle. Read the trade journals they read. Attend the trade shows, they attend. In short, become invaluable.