When the going gets tough, the tough increase their prices

In 2015, every market is competitive. And the competition is getting ever stronger as more and more businesses use software to bring better, quicker – and more importantly cheaper – services to the market. Put simply, in 2015 companies are faced with a stark simple choice. Adapt or die.

Now to many, this will mean reduce our prices further, become more and more competitive and see where we can save money. The issue with this mindset is that you become trapped in a race to the bottom. There will always be someone who will do things for less due to size and scale or having access to cheaper resource due to their location.

The interesting thing we find is that companies and customers don’t always want cheap. Yes, there is a market for cheap and there always has been. However, what people really want is value for money. Don’t you? Do you mind paying a little extra if you perceive a hidden or obvious value? If you didn’t, you would always buy the cheapest regardless and yet, you don’t. Why is that? Because you decided that what the brand, service or product stands for means something to you and YOU are willing to pay more for it.

The same can be said about your business. Think about it, if you could define something about what you do and how you do it or what you bring to others that the competition doesn’t, this could enable you to charge more. Wouldn’t clients be willing to pay extra if the perceived worth of what you deliver was more than what you charged? Of course they would.

Would you immediately disenfranchise a large part of the market? Yes. But wouldn’t they be people who either didn’t want or value what you bring? Or people who simply wanted the cheapest version of what you do? And would they be people you’d like to work with or spend time talking and selling to, only to find out they didn’t have the money or desire to work with you?

So how do you define what you stand for and deliver? Well, let me tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t vacuous words about your values, professionalism and how lovely you are – I’m not interested. It isn’t doing what everyone else is doing either as that doesn’t stand you apart. It isn’t burying your head in the sand and hoping it will all go away and it isn’t redesigning your website and adding a prettier face to your existing message. I can’t help you find out what exactly to say (this typically takes us a couple of weeks and a good day with clients to eke out). But what I can do is give you an idea of where to start:

  1. Review your competition and see what they are saying and doing. Don’t just look at the obvious ones, the ones you know about. Go online and become a potential client and pretend you are looking for you. What would you search for? Then look at what shows up. You may be surprised.
  1. Look at yourself from your client’s perspective, maybe ask existing clients why they chose you, look at the key services you sell quickest and most of and the profit you make from the services you offer. Most important DON’T be emotional, be clinical with this review. You need to know the truth about you and your current situation.
  1. Look at what you are saying and how you are currently selling. Review internal processes and who is trying to win what, how old is your pipeline, where do you get your clients from, what is working and what isn’t. Again this should be done from an impersonal standpoint. It doesn’t matter who created or did what. The key concern here is what you are doing and what you need to do moving forward.
  1. At this point, you can start to get an idea of what you can offer, what your market would buy and what strengths you can start to build a brand around.

Of course, there are a hundred and one other things you need to look at as well but this should at least start to show you whether you need real help, a stern talking to or resuscitation. The key is that when you have something to build your business around (it’s called a brand) then you can charge more. Simply because you will be telling people what value you can add.

For further reading on how to create a stand out brand see Cliff Findlay’s free, downloadable white paper, The Brand Gap available at www.latitudesolutions.co.uk/news-blogs-resources/brand-gap.