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Building Value in a Crowded Industry

Posted by Ryan Howard on Fri, Jul 12, 2013  |  Share       

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Let me start by defining what I mean by "Building Value".

Value is the perception of the relative worth, merit, or importance of something.  We too often only think of “value” in terms of money, and although price always place a part in a buying decision, other factors play a more important role in building value. I've included seven simple ideas on this concept below. But first, a quick story...and my inspiration for creating this post. 

I was looking for a mildew-removing solution for cleaning a small patch growing up the stucco on my house.  The big box store tried to sell me a large bottle of concentrate that required mixing with bleach, along with rubber gloves, scrub brushes, and goggles.  I passed on the 3 gallon bottle that would create 50 gallons of cleaner, enough for several 3-story houses and instead decided to try the little neighborhood hardware store near my home.

The man who greeted me asked, What brings you in today?  Not “What can I help you with?” or “What do you need?”  Instead he was asking me about my problem, which I explained as he listened patiently.  His questions led me to believe he was truly interested in my problem and I eagerly followed him as he took me directly to a shelf that displayed several options. He explained the value of each option carefully, but then recommended one that was called, “Spray and Walk Away” which came in a sprayer that hooked up to a garden hose and required no scrubbing. The capper though was when he asked me when I was going to do my cleaning project.  When I explained not until the following weekend, he curled his index finger at me drawing me closer and quietly said, “…Come back Friday when this goes on sale.” Not only did I come back on Friday, but I came with a list of items I needed around the house. I am apt to brag about this store to everyone I know, so they can share the same customer experience. To me, this little hardware store understood what building value is all about.

Seven Simple Ideas for Building Value in a Crowded Industry: 

In today’s information age, there are very few businesses that operate without increasing competition. The playing field has been leveled by the internet in ways that commerce has never seen before. So how do you distinguish yourself in a marketplace that is becoming more crowded every day? By building value in the products or services you offer. Consider these simple concepts to help set you and your business apart from the crowd:

1. Innovation 
Encourage your employees to come up with innovative ideas for distinguishing your company from your competition. Have them look for solution-based offerings coming from the customer’s point of view.

2. Service Sells 
Think “service oriented” vs. “price point.”  Sure people want a good competitive price, but they will also appreciate sincere service, to the point where price becomes secondary.

3. Create Loyalty 
Use price discounts to reward your best customers for giving you referrals. There is no stronger sales message than that delivered by a satisfied customer. The reason there are so many referral rewards programs out there is because they work.

4. Appreciation
Remember: Your best customer is someone else’s best prospect. Make sure you keep them coming to you.  Use systematic follow up with existing customers to “Delight” them and make them promoters of your business.  Thank you notes and personalized letters with special deals for loyal customers go a long way in keeping them in your camp.  Have a consistent policy for showing customer appreciation.

5. Solution-based USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
Your website content, sales messages, letters, emails, slogans, and any other customer/prospect communications should be solution-based, not just feature-and-benefit-based. How do you solve problems for your customers better than your competition? 

6. Start at the Top
Leadership should encourage a company culture conducive to a priority on customer service.  When that attitude is demonstrated at the top, it shows throughout the organization.  Develop a service-based mission statement and make sure everyone sees it.

7. Building Value –The Right Team
Find the right kind of people to represent you. Are they service oriented? Do they fit into the culture you are trying to create?  Building value means building the right team.

Which one of these factors do you think plays the most important role in building value?

  • Price
  • Expenditure of Time
  • Sense of Security
  • Pleasure, Satisfaction, or Happiness
  • Solution To A Problem

To the recipient, the real value is usually found in number four.  Often the solution to the problem provides for the other factors.  So what does this tell us? Building value is about providing better solutions. 

In my business, running background checks to verify employee or tenant eligibility is often considered a commodity.

At VeriFirst, we focus our USP on building better compliance solutions for our clients. We have a common goal to help protect employers and landlords from FCRA violations, negligent hiring claims, Fair Housing Act violations, and more. For me, the value isn't just in the data we provide, it is in the subsequent outcomes that come with it.  

Do you have creative ways on building value in your brand, service or organization? We'd love to hear your ideas in the Comments below. 

 

 

 

Topics: business lessons, building value, compliance, managing change

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