2003 Fall/Winter Volume No. 2
Raise the Standard
Anytime you see a great deal in an advertisement at unbelievably low rates, check the fine print–there’s probably a catch. To get the lowest rates, you’ll probably need to buy a lot more inventory than you’ll ever need, or buy products that nobody else wants! And, if that’s the case, where’s the value in that?
Remember the old saying, “When things look too good to be true, they usually are!” I believe the reverse is also true. When things look “too bad to be true,” they probably aren’t as bad as they first appear. Let me give you an example—say there are a bunch of new startups in your service area, and several of them begin a price-cutting war to try and steal customers away. You’ll probably lose some business at first and that’s always bad news.
What happens next, however, depends on you. If you panic and join the price cutters, then you’ll not only lose a few customers, you’ll lose revenue across your entire business. However, if you fight price cutters by selling additional value and service, revenues will likely go up across your business. Those customers who leave will more than likely come back after the price cutters find themselves spread too thin and incapable of adequately meeting their commitments.
I’ve been in this business for years and I think I’ve seen it all. Price cutting, service cards left in other companies’ johns, bad mouthing of competitors, and the list goes on. What I haven’t seen is any customer, for the long haul, put their confidence in someone they don’t trust. Eventually people don’t trust companies that don’t set standards and work to improve those standards every day.
Customers are smart. They eventually figure out when a company is lowering their standards to make a sale. And they certainly know when a company has no standards at all. People might buy from them once, but you can count on it – they won’t buy from them in the long run. And, if they are “here today and gone tomorrow,” what is the real value in that?
It’s time for all of us in this industry to make some changes – to earn more and get paid more, because our focus and our efforts should not be on taking business away from the other guy, but on providing greater value where it needs to be provided – to each and every customer.
If you panic and join the price cutters, then you’ll not only lose a few customers, you’ll lose revenue across your entire business.
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