Your value is infinitely more important than your price. To separate yourself from competitive options, you must establish an environment in which your prospect can clearly see the value and expertise that you provide. If prospects can’t see the value, they are going to use the one measure that they can see—your prices and fees.
When selling against competition your success depends entirely on your ability to persuasively demonstrate the value you have is clearly superior to the other options. Distinguishing your product or services from those of your competitors will result in consistent wins; failure to accomplish this results in an apples-to-apples comparison. The lowest price wins.
People choose or refuse to buy from you on the basis of a values match or mismatch. Value is in the eye of the beholder. What you think you are worth and what others think you are worth can be vastly different. No matter what you believe about the value of your services, it’s the prospect who ultimately decides. The client is the final judge and jury of value.
Value is the difference between the prices you charge and the benefits the prospect perceives they will obtain. If your prospective clients perceive they will derive a vast benefit from the price they pay, then their perception of value is very high. Often the lack of lack of perceived value makes clients shop on price. Your price will be the only point of difference clients can easily measure.
It is a common fallacy that people buy based on fees and price. Some do, but most people buy based on value or their perception of value. Prospective clients are afraid to part with their money. Money equals security, and it doesn’t matter how much money you are asking people to part with. Consumers are happy to spend their money when they see that there’s more value in using your products and services than in keeping their money.
When a client informs you that she is going to a competitor who has lower pricing or fees, she is telling you that she does not see enough of a value difference. The things that are of value to her do not substantiate the difference in dollars. Every professional and every industry bring different elements to the value table. The burden of proof is on you.
Here is what happened. You lost the sale because, after weighing both options, the prospect did not see enough difference in value between your services and your competitor’s to justify spending the additional fees. It has everything to do with your failure to differentiate your value proposition.
Many professionals attempt to differentiate themselves and add value by using the same language as their competition. These overused and generic statements make your prospective clients roll their eyes, shake their head and think big deal; everyone else is saying the same thing.
How do you separate yourself from your competition? How do you show a prospect—clearly and conclusively that your products and services are not like the other options available to them? How do you deliver value in a meeting? In your follow-up? When delivering a demo? The type of value that would make a prospective client pay higher fees.
If your prospect has the financial ability to hire but chooses not to do so, then money is not the issue that is driving their buying decision. Value is the underlying driver.
In the absence of value, virtually any product or service may be driven down to one thing, price. Deliver value and you will never have to compete on price. Don’t allow pricing to become a default position. Don’t allow your prices or fees to be the only point of reference available for separating you from the competition.
Do you believe that you lose sales and opportunities because of your prices and fees? Don’t! Find out what your clients value and give it to them. But don’t stop there. Give them some of what they didn’t even know they wanted. The more you focus on the value you deliver, the less important price becomes. You control the knob on value. Turn it up!
In the end, the best way to sum up what value means taking the time to find out what your clients value and give it to them. But don’t stop there. Give them some of what they didn’t even know they wanted. Blow their hair back. Knock their socks off. Wow the heck out of them.
Liz Wendling is the author of two books (and counting) — The Unstoppable Business Woman and Everyone Sells Something, a columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, and one of the first nationally credentialed facilitators for Napoleon Hill Mastermind groups. Learn more at lizwendling.com.