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Donnie Bryant: When Your Business Isn’t An Option

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Have your sales been up, down or steady over the past 24 months? Hopefully they’re up. If your revenue isn’t trending upward, are you blaming the crummy economy?

I’ve got news for you. There’s no less money circulating today than there was during the “good ol’ days. In fact, the Federal Reserve has created hundreds of billions of dollars ex nihilo and pumped them into the economy over the past few years. There’s actually more money out there (even though each dollar is less valuable). The question is, Are you getting your share of those dollars?

Here’s the Fundamental Issue

There are also more options available to consumers than ever before. No matter what industry you’re in, you probably have more competitors than ever. That means somebody (or maybe everybody) loses marketshare as more players step onto the field.

What can you do about that?

My suggestion is this: It’s time to stop being an option.

When prospects don’t buy from you, or when clients won’t pay you the fees you deserve, it’s not because of a lack of money. Money is NOT the issue. Rather, the issue is one of priority. The client has money, but you don’t get it because he sees more value in spending it on something else.

When it’s decision-making time, priorities run the show. People will always find ways to pay for what’s most important to them. If customers aren’t buying, your offer is not a priority for them.

You can elevate your product or service above being “just an option” if you key in on your customers’ priorities.

At its root, commerce hasn’t changed much since Cain and Abel bartered with produce and livestock. Merchants sold real stuff to meet real felt needs. That means you have to offer what consumers want to buy, not necessarily what you want to produce or sell.

This may seem obvious, but many entrepreneurs mess up here. They become so obsessed with their product that it can become an end unto itself, rather than a means to improve the lives of their customers.

Your offer also has to meet needs or satisfy desires that are a priority for your prospects.

Make Them Feel It

Your marketing and sales processes should be geared toward intensifying that desire and directing it towards your product. Build a vivid image in the mind of your potential customer. Help them envision themselves enjoying your product and the amazing life that becomes possible once they possess it. Once this image takes root, it can be almost impossible not to make take action in real life.

This transfer of ownership (as salespeople call it) is very powerful.

You’ve felt it before. When you saw that toy you just had to have as a youngster. When your friend described a delicious meal at a new restaurant you couldn’t wait to try. When you saw the woman you knew you wanted to marry. You gotta have it. It’s no longer an option; it’s a necessity.

Define the Difference—In Dollars

One great way to get a bigger chunk of the money moving around the marketplace is to sell money back to your customers. You do that by selling them a product or service that either helps them earn or save more money than they spend with you.

If your prices are lower than your competitors, make sure your target audience knows how much they can save. The better route is to educate the audience about how much more value they get working with you versus hiring the other guy, even if your prices are substantially more expensive.

Let’s say you’re a window installer and your prices are 25% higher than any of your peers in the same city. Property owners will automatically wonder, “why should I pay that much more?” Well, let’s also say that your windows are guaranteed to reduce energy costs more, last twice as long and improve the resale value of the home, which windows really cost more?

Jeffery Fox has a fascinating report on Dollarization, which helps you measure precisely what your product is really worth to your customers in dollars and cents. Says Fox:

“Dollarization removes much of the subjectivity involved in selecting a product and allows the customer to assess the true economic impact of a purchase decision…In business-to-business selling…every product point-of-difference, and every product benefit can always be dollarized—without exception.”

In other words, in a fiercely competitive business environment, you can clearly demonstrate to your customers how much more value they’ll get when they buy from you instead of someone else. Seems like a good advantage you’d like to have, eh? Your business doesn’t have to settle for being just another option in a marketplace saturated with choices. By determining the strongest needs and desires of your target customers and showing them the incredible satisfaction your solution will bring to their lives, your product or service can become one of their top priorities.

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