Add Value and out-smart and out-sell your competition
How to add value and out-smart and out-sell your competition
How to add value in everything you do in your business. Your prospects and customers buy value, NOT price. The more value you can add to your product or service, the higher the price you can charge. WITHOUT compromising your ability to close more sales.
In today’s competitive environment you’re foolish to think that by keeping a close eye on your successful competitors and following what they do, you will have a similarly successful business. If you really want to stand out from the crowd you need to fully grasp and implement the concept of adding value to your sales propositions.
Adding value to a sales proposition can be as simple as ensuring your staff are 100% in touch with your clients. In this case, touch stands for
- Caring and
Something as simple as remembering your clients’ names can add greater value to the sales process, particularly if your competitor doesn’t do this.
Other simple things include birthdays, favourite drinks, colours, preferred delivery times and so on. All of these can create a more enjoyable experience for your customers, especially if your competitors aren’t using them. These are easy-to-implement examples of adding value.
In this article we’ll look at a whole host of ways to add value to your sales propositions in order to truly stand out from the crowd. One critically important distinction every business owner must understand is that of ‘perceived value’. The greater the perceived value of a product or service, the greater the amount you can charge for it and the greater value it will have in the eyes of your prospects and current clients.
Adding value simply means increasing the perceived value of what you’re offering the marketplace. The following suggestions are just some of the ways you can start to add more value to your sales propositions.
Begin by thinking about convenience.
One of the most valuable things you can do for your clients is to make their experience in dealing with you the most convenient ever! Providing convenience is one of the driving forces behind many highly successful businesses operating today.
Everything from Deliveroo, 24-hour supermarkets, Internet shopping and so on. To stand out from the crowd, start to focus on how you can provide more convenience for your prospects and customers. Here are just a few ideas for you to consider:
Add value with Free Delivery
If your business is one where your customers must come to you to make their purchases, try to incorporate free delivery into the purchase price. This is especially true if you sell what is often regarded as a commodity. For example, when you need a loaf of bread or a dozen eggs, the biggest hassle you have is running to the supermarket to get them. That’s why grocery delivery services have been winning customers over the past ten years.
Fragile, odd-shaped and heavy items are great things to offer to deliver to your clients for free as it removes the concern of transport and potential damage in their own car. If you don’t have the ability to deliver yourself, there are many national and local courier companies that can deliver on your behalf.
Use free delivery to build a customer base of people you know are motivated by this relatively easy way to provide value-added service. You can then make it even more convenient by encouraging them to purchase without having to visit you.
For example, a pick-up and drop-off dry cleaning service will attract clients more readily than a dry cleaner that relies on their clients to bring their clothing to them. This is considered a basic commodity, and the biggest frustration is simply finding the time to take the clothes to the dry cleaner.
How many more customers would a dry cleaner attract if they suddenly offered a pick-up and delivery service to a specific neighbourhood on a weekly basis? They could easily double their business.
If your business is one where people often give your product or service as a gift – for example, a florist, a beautician, a wine-delivery – then why not make it ultra-convenient and provide an automatic gift service? Explain to your clients that, as an added service, you will send a gift worth a specific value to any list of people they provide and therefore relieve them of the responsibility for preparing for every special
This way they can be guaranteed that birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Christmas and so on will never be forgotten. The gift will be delivered on the day of, or the day before, ensuring a delighted recipient – and it will all happen without the customer having to give it a second thought.
Online shopping is increasing at an exponential rate. So, let’s look at a catalogue or online shopping. If your customers can do business with you without visiting your shop or business, then this may provide them with an added incentive to continue using you over someone else. A basic transactional website outlining your products and services is a great way for your clients to shop with you even when your business is closed.
If you haven’t got a transactional website then make it easy for your clients to order over the phone.
Then go one step further, work out the average life cycle of your products and call them, send an email reminder or post details of your products when you know it’s time to replace them.
Take Business To Your Customers
You should also look for ways to take your business to your customers. This is a great way to add value and convenience. Over the last decade or so we’ve seen the introduction of mobile mechanics, hairdressers and replacement services that can provide the exact same service they typically perform at their business location without the hassle of the customer having to travel to their premises. However, there are still a huge number of businesses that rely on the client coming to them when whatever it is their clients are after could easily be taken to them.
For example, a very small % of the population has visited a chiropractor, but a far greater number of people complain of bad backs and poor mobility. A “We come to you” approach for chiropractors offering an initial free consultation to explain the benefits of treatment might dramatically increase lead flow and patient base.
Businesses that deal in the low priced, service-based end of the market are also missing out on a huge opportunity. Some examples of businesses that could carve out a nice piece of market share by going direct to consumers might include a knife and tool sharpening business.
Every kitchen and garden shed probably has blunt, broken, rusty or ineffective knives and tools that could be brought back to life by someone industrious enough to go direct to the consumer with a ‘whole household’ overhaul – £50 for the lot!
This business could easily accommodate 8 households in one day at a profit of £400. Working a 5 day week, this business could generate more than £100,000 per year. But now consider offering all of the following services while you’re in each home.
How about a shoe repair business? I’ll bet that every cupboard in those same households probably has old shoes, boots, belts and handbags that, with a little TLC, could be brought back to life. Some people simply never get around to fixing things – but they probably would if you went to them.
Have you ever lost your keys? Who hasn’t? So what about offering a key cutting service? Anyone who has ever suffered the inconvenience of losing keys without having a spare set knows there is a huge opportunity for an entrepreneurial key-cutter to apply his craft direct to the consumer.
What about picture frames? Lots of photos, awards, degrees and certificates are lying around in the bottom of drawers in homes just waiting for the right person to rescue them from obscurity and to remind their owner of their rightful place, such as on a wall in a lovely new picture frame.
Consider clothing alterations. Who doesn’t own an item of clothing that’s too big, too small, ripped, torn, has buttons missing, zips broken, holes in pockets, torn lining or needs to be taken up, in, out or down? Another golden opportunity exists for a mobile clothes’ repairer.
As you can see, all of these are products and services many customers would take advantage of if it were convenient for them to do so. Use these examples to stimulate your own ideas regarding convenience that you may be able to apply to your business.
Gift Vouchers can add Value
Now let’s consider additional opportunities to help you add value. What about gift vouchers? Gift vouchers can work in a number of ways to help you provide added value and convenience for your customers. The first and most obvious is that you can sell gift vouchers to people who can then give them away as gifts or prizes.
This is a great little profit booster as you’re being paid upfront for products and services you are yet to provide and, believe it or not, there are some people who, having been given a voucher, simply forget to redeem them. However, a word of warning… you should always keep accurate records when you sell gift vouchers, as you want to make sure they get redeemed each and every time. There are a number of reasons for this.
First, you should be doing everything you can to grow your database, and an unredeemed gift voucher is one less potential client you can sell to again and again. Second, you want to inform the person who gave the gift voucher that it has been redeemed so that, in turn, they can talk to the person who received it and possibly receive a second “thank you.”
This will also mean that there are now two people talking about your business, namely, the products or services they exchanged the voucher for, which anchors in the minds of those two people that yours is a convenient business to deal with.
Also, make sure that you explain to all those people who purchase a gift voucher that you provide a free service. Explain that you will call the recipient two weeks before the voucher expires so they don’t miss out before the expiry date. This provides another opportunity to build your database.
Another area to consider involves trade-in offers. Have you ever wondered why every car dealer in the country offers a trade-in on the purchase of a new or used vehicle? It’s a great way to generate extra sales. Don’t think that it’s only relevant for auto sales. Literally, any business that offers anything new could start using trade-ins as a tool to growing their business. Why couldn’t you trade in old bikes or old appliances? All you’re doing is simply lowering your margin on the sale of the new item.
But here’s the deal. People love to feel they’re getting a great deal. They like to trade in something old for new as it can provide a way for your customers to get rid of unwanted goods and it definitely makes their buying decision easier. A lot of people don’t like throwing away things they have paid good money for, so they end up hoarding a lot of old, worn, out-of-date products because they feel a level of pain associated with ‘throwing their money away.’ And as we all are becoming much more environmentally aware to have a convenient way to dispose of our old items is much more appealing.
Another great way to boost trade-in sales is by offering to donate all traded-in goods to a needy charity. People now feel they’re winning twice – they’re be- ing paid a trade-in on the old product but they can now justify doing so since they’re helping out a charity as well.
Maybe you can promote that “all traded-in items will be donated to charity” to get a write-up in the local paper. Articles are far better than paid advertising as your offer will reach more people, you will generate positive word-of-mouth and everyone becomes a winner in this transaction.
Another option to consider is product bundling. Product bundling is simply the process of grouping together certain products to create ‘packages’ which you then sell to your clients. At the heart of all value-added propositions lies the need to help make your clients’ decision-making process easier.
Many people are very indecisive by nature and will often prefer not to make a decision at all rather than make the wrong one. Product bundling can help people make easier decisions.
Consider these examples of product bundling to stimulate your own thought processes.
A dentist could offer 30% off a teeth-whitening program after each visit by a patient. A person is more motivated to buy this product having just gone through the physical and financial pain to have their teeth look great, and naturally, they’ll want to keep them that way?
A landscape gardener could offer a garden maintenance kit after each job, including gloves, a spade, a rake, a broom, clippers, a compost bin and so on. This enables the client of the new garden to keep it in the same pristine condition. When added to the cost of the new garden, this bundled offer sounds like an excellent investment.
What about a photographer? They could bundle enlargements, a photo album and a digital copy of all the photos taken. Customers are thrilled to receive this complete service and it gives them a permanent digital record for future generations.
A locksmith could provide an alarm system, roller shutters, a fire protection system, a car alarm, a personal attack alarm, exterior alarm warning signs and stickers and possibly a CO2 detection system where appropriate. People often need a locksmith due to a break-in or fear of one. So why not offer them a ‘complete home-protection package’. Some people will definitely say yes.
By the way, most locksmiths aren’t qualified to offer some of these types of high-tech systems. No problem, just joint venture with businesses that are qualified and work out a referral fee for driving qualified clients to them, and them to you.
Hopefully, by now you’re starting to see the potential here. Make it easy for your clients to buy from you. Take away the barriers, help them make easier decisions and you will see a huge difference, both to your businesses reputation and to your bottom line.
Offer Finance Options
Another opportunity that can help you add value to your offerings is through financing. In days gone by, the only financing most businesses were able to offer their clients involved some form of internal financing, or by opening up of accounts for their clients. While these are fine and many businesses still provide these add-on services for their clients today, there are now smarter ways to use financing in your business.
If you’re in a business where your products or services are considered on the expensive side, such as furniture, an electrician, kitchen designer, landscapers and so on, you should offer your clients some sort of finance option where they can pay their purchase off over 1 or 2 years, but you still get paid upfront. You can charge your clients interest or, through a finance company, offer an interest-free option.
Another opportunity is the buy one–get one free offer. To be able to “buy one and receive the second one free” is another great way to create added value in the eyes of your customers. However, this offer only works if you can purchase a particular item at a low cost in bulk so that you can still make a significant profit on the sale.
Consider this example. You own a clothing store and decide to offer a “buy one T-shirt and get a second one for free!” Each T-shirt has a wholesale cost of £5, and you decide to sell them for £15. The customer receives two T-shirts then for £15, and your total cost is £10. You end up with a profit of £5. These promotions are great to use as they draw in those customers who always like to get a deal. But here’s the key to this strategy…
ALWAYS have a strategy in place to up-sell and cross-sell each customer and you can easily increase double or triple your profit margins. Once you perfect this strategy and you confirm that 70% of all customers are being up-sold to an additional product or service with a significantly higher profit margin, you can then consider offering the 2 T-shirts for £10 and use them as a ‘self-liquidating offer’ This is where you actually don’t make any money on that particular sale but more than make up the difference through your up-selling strategy.
The next opportunity to explore involves price matching. This occurs when a business makes an offer like “find the same product at a cheaper price and we’ll match it, or if you’re really aggressive, you can offer to give the customer 10% off the original price.”
Many businesses use this as a conditioning tool to create the impression that this business always has lower prices than everyone else when, in reality, a lot of what they offer is at the same or even at a higher price than their competition. Tesco is good at using this strategy. Many of their products are labelled online as a price match to Aldi.
Warranties and Guarantees
Another area to consider is to offer extended warranties and guarantees. Ex- tended warranties and guarantees are something you can offer to your clients to back up the stated manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee. It shows that you’re more than willing to extend the life of the warranty or guarantee due to your belief in the product. You can then use this extension to differentiate yourself further from your competition. However, there is some inherent risk involved since you’re gambling on the product you sold actually lasting the distance.
You might try contacting the manufacturer and ask about extending the warranty for your customers only. If they believe you will strongly or exclusively endorse their product or service over all others, they are often willing to reward that exclusivity by offering an extended warranty.
Free storage is another area to look at. With the ever-increasing popularity of self-storage units, those businesses that are able to provide free storage of the products or items that they sell can provide added convenience for their clients. Free, permanent storage or even free storage for a month or two after purchase could help a lot of people who want to buy your product today but, due to a number of reasons, can’t have it delivered at the present time. And since you’re storing it for them, you can now offer multiple up-sell and cross-sell services to dramatically increase your revenue and profits.
Some examples of permanent storage opportunities include boats, caravans, trailers and horse boxes. Many times the purchaser simply doesn’t have the space to store these at home. By offering to store their purchase, you’re seen as providing a safe, secure and easy to access storage option on their behalf. You can offer to provide additional services they require, make modifications, offer custom paint services and charge for routine and required maintenance.
Wine is another opportunity for permanent storage. This would be ideal for purchasers who don’t have a wine cellar, move around a lot or might be too tempted to consume the wine if kept in their home. By offering to store it for them, they will feel confident that their purchase will be professionally stored and kept at the correct temperature.
Now let’s look at some examples where temporary free storage opportunities exist. Building materials would be a viable option. Customers today may decide to renovate in 3 months but want to purchase materials and supplies now while items are on sale and readily available. This allows them to lock in lower sale prices and makes the job hassle-free. By offering free temporary storage, allows you to lock in the sale today and then offers you the chance for additional up-sell and cross-sell opportunities as well.
Another area is furniture and antiques. When customers move, they frequently shop for antiques and furniture for their new home months before they move in. Having a facility where they can store their purchases temporarily means they can go ahead and shop for specific styles, colours and price when sales come along.
Gifts are a third option to consider. No one wants to risk the chance that their “perfect” gift will be discovered prior to the special occasion. Free temporary storage makes early gift buying more convenient while adding additional sales to your business.
One note about providing free temporary storage. While this can help you increase sales and revenue short term, it can quickly become a major burden on your business if the items you offer to store are left past the period of time you originally negotiated. ALWAYS establish a maximum storage date, and if that date is exceeded, be sure you have the customer’s agreement that a fee will be paid to you when they do pick up the item, or that after 30 days past the expiry pick up date, all items in storage become your property.
Prizes and Competitions
Another opportunity that can help you add value to your offerings is to offer prizes and competitions. If you offer prizes and competitions and your competitors don’t, more people will choose you because they stand to gain something for nothing. You can offer weekly, monthly or annual prizes. The choice is yours.
Think strategically about the prizes you offer. If you sold swimwear or travel goods or anything relating to a holiday, you could offer free sunscreen as a prize for purchasing on a quiet day.
However, suppose you’re looking for something on a MUCH grander scale? Then consider using joint venture partners. It’s easy to create joint ventures with other businesses and offer their products or services as prizes in your competition.
Why not approach businesses in your area and ask them to donate one of their best products or services. Then create a “basket” of prizes or gifts. Instead of offering a prize valued at £20, you can now offer a prize valued at £1000.
Now, run a group competition where each customer from every store in the partnership goes into a drawing to “win a £1,000 gift basket.” All of the stores can promote this competition and use it to compel additional sales.
For example, a solicitor could offer to update the customer’s will. The local butcher could offer a free meat platter. The hairdresser could provide a free shampoo and blow-dry. The health club could kick in an hour with a personal trainer
The gardener could offer a free lawn mowing complete with trimming and edging. A photo shop could offer a series of free picture frames. The ladies clothing shop could offer a free scarf or winter gloves. The dry cleaner might provide free dry cleaning and the local restaurant a free dinner for two.
This is a great way of providing high-perceived value to the winner but at a low cost to all the relevant businesses – they are providing the prize at retail value but their cost is in wholesale pounds. Once you add up all the prizes and their retail pound values, you now have a sizeable prize to offer and all the businesses benefit as it will increase their exposure and may generate additional sales or a long-term client.
Competitions like this take a little bit of organizing on your part but are a great way to become well known in your business community. They are also a terrific way to commence joint venturing in your business.
Discount and Loyalty Cards
Discount cards are another option to look at. This is a very simple way to reward your loyal clients, ensure repeat business, and generate great word of mouth. By offering a ‘10% off’ Discount Card to your loyal clients, you’re taking a 10% hit on margin but you’re generating reciprocity and ‘goodwill’ in your business. Once again, if your competitors aren’t offering a discount and you are, you’re differentiating yourself.
Can you offer your services to your customers and have a loyalty card where they can buy ten and then get one free? A lot of people who are using the product or service you provide will use you if you reward loyalty when others don’t.
An additional thought here; if you have a product or service that appeals to children and you have a way to capture the date they were born, send them an offer card for a free whatever as a special birthday present. There isn’t a child in the world who won’t want to redeem that birthday present, and when they do, their siblings and their parents will want to buy as well.
This works especially well for restaurants, yoghurt and ice cream shops, retailers offering clothing and low-end jewellery, video games and entertainment establishments like movie theatres, bowling centres, ice skating rinks and so on.
Let’s look at several additional examples of service-based businesses that could easily use loyalty cards. A hairdresser could offer a buy five, get one free. A chiropractor could offer a buy one get one free treatment. The local dentist could promote bringing the whole family twice a year and receive free mouth guards for the kids. A stockbroker could make an offer that for every ten trades executed in one month the client receives their first trade free next month. The local cafe could offer every tenth coffee for free.
The massage therapist could make an offer that for every 60-minute massage that’s booked they will provide 30 minutes as a bonus. This would be an excellent promotion to offer businesses with 10 or more employees. The therapist could offer to let the business book a series of 60-minute massages, provide them with 90 minutes of actual service, and then allow the company to give these massages to their employees as 15-minute on-premise chair massages. The company could position these massages as employee bonuses or thank you’s. Everyone wins in a deal like this.
A beautician could offer that for every four facials you purchase you receive a free eyebrow shaping, manicure or pedicure. Commercial cleaning company – buy 26 office cleans and we will clean your entire home. Gardener – pre-purchase ten rounds of lawn-mowing and get a free compost bin.
Pet groomer – buy twenty dog washes and receive a free lead and dog bowl. Driving instructor – pay for ten lessons and receive a free Sat Nav. Personal fitness trainer – buy ten sessions and receive a free session with a certified nutritionist. As you can see, this is a strategy that can be easily applied to practically any business in any industry.
A V.I.P Offer
V.I.P. customer programmes are also worth considering. This is simply a way to recognize and reward your best clients. It can be as simple as providing a discount card or, depending on your level of creativity, you could combine several strategies mentioned in this article. Consider a V.I.P. Customer Programme that combines a discount of 10-15% off all non-sale items, comes with extended warranties and guarantees, free home delivery, various prizes and interest-free financing.
This is a great way of bundling a handful of value-added concepts into one very powerful programme. As each business is different, with different margins, products and services, you will need to determine what the appropriate programme is for your clients. Whatever it is, being unique, innovative and super-creative will enable you to remain at ‘top of mind’ awareness with your clients and keep them coming back to you again and again.
This article was designed to look at a multitude of ‘entrepreneurial’ ways you can add value to your sales propositions in order to truly stand out from the crowd and separate your business from all others. One critically important distinction every business owner must understand is ‘perceived value’. The greater the perceived value of a product or service, the greater the amount you can charge for it. And the greater value it will have in the eyes of your prospects and current clients.
Adding value simply means increasing the perceived value of what you’re offering the marketplace. The suggestions here are just some of the ways you can start to add more value to your sales propositions.
We hope this helps you continue to build the business you’ve always dreamed of having, a business that provides you with financial freedom and an extraordinary life for you and your family. If you’d like some help with growing your business then give me a call. We are really good at helping small businesses get and keep more customers!
Book your call here or call me, Rachel on 07949 188923