If You Were the Customer, Would You Buy from Yourself?

Why becoming a local authority on Opex systems will help you crush the competition

How do you get a customer to choose you over your competitor, or over the dreaded “no-decision” decision?

By now you probably know that marketing isn’t about buying ad space in magazines and newspapers. Marketing means positioning your company and your product. It means demonstrating your UVP and emphasizing what makes you different from the competition.

How many quotes have you sent with no response?

It’s not that your potential customer is fickle. It’s a deeper problem with your quote.

Here’s the problem: your quote (and your company) look the same as all the others.

Aside from IT managers—passionate about the tech side and able to recognize the richness of your solution in terms of features, code, and protocols—the vast majority of your customers have just one strategy for choosing which quote to accept: price.

But price is objective. Cold. Flat.

It’s just a number, almost unreal, abstract, a convention that humans have created to come to agreements on measures and calculations.

What do numbers have to do with purchases? Although it might seem counterintuitive, the answer is “not all that much.”

We don’t always buy the most economical product. If we did, you’d only see Civics on the road, Gucci and Armani stores would close, and every company would use Skype.

Price is a marginal consideration when choosing a product, not just because it’s abstract, but also because it’s relative.

The price is relative because it’s measured with regard to something specific: the result that the product achieves. The return on investment.

If I buy a Maserati, it’s not to get me from point A to point B. I buy a Maserati to show the world the “me” I want them to see as I get from point A to point B. It’s a status symbol, not a simple mode of transportation.

The same thing happens with communication systems. In this case, it’s not about ego but productivity: the low number of dropped calls (and related loss of potential sales), the speed with which information is exchanged, the security of the communications.

A customer doesn’t choose you because you’re the cheapest, but because they are
deciding to trust you. They’re tasking you with solving their problems.

How? It all depends on the way you’ve decided to position yourself in the market.

Positioning is one of the pillars of marketing, and luckily it’s not too complicated.

If I say sweet carbonated drink, most people think of Coca Cola.

If I say burger and fries, most people think of McDonald’s.

If I say red sportscar, most people think of a Ferrari.

Positioning of your brand isn’t so much about manipulating your place in the market as it is about manipulating perceptions about your company in the heads of your customers. I recommend the writings of Al Ries, who explains these concepts very clearly.

So back to you. What does your lead think when they receive one of your emails? When they visit you, when they analyze a your quote?

How do they perceive you? Are you one of many, or are you a specialist? …and specialist in what?

Your objective is to become a specialist. An expert. A local authority on Opex communication systems.

To do that, you’ll have to do some self-analysis and make some adjustments:

  • Look at your brand. What does it communicate?
  • Do you have a catch phrase, a slogan? Something written that always accompanies your logo and specifies what you specialize in?
  • How do your technicians dress? Do they wear uniforms?
  • How do your sales reps visit customers? Suit and tie, sporty, or casual attire?
  • Are your company vehicles clean and tidy, with your logo displayed prominently?
  • Is your website up to date? Does it present all the products you’re offering?
  • Does your quote only talk about the pricing, or does it discuss after-purchase results  and benefits? Are they the benefits your customer is looking for?

Interview your customer the way an expert (detective, lawyer, or journalist) would.

If you’re able to understand your client’s needs and leverage them in your “promise,” you’ll stop being seen as one of many- you’ll be seen as an expert that has understood their problem and is ready to solve it.

This is positioning a company.

“Where is my expertise? What do I do better than others? Who do I work for, and which problems am I solving?”

Positioning is fundamental in determining the success or failure of your company.

A word of advice? Think about how others see you and ask yourself this:

If you were the customer, would you buy something from yourself? If yes, what?

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