In our travels, we come across many businesses that aim to compete on price alone. And in doing so, they invariably paint themselves into a corner.
Such a strategy can work for businesses that offer low cost, high turnover products (rarely services). But for the rest of us, being forced into a downward spiral of discounts and price cuts can be a fast track to business oblivion.
There is a far more effective strategy to help us gain a competitive edge. It’s called value adding.
Understanding the concept of added value
Added value refers to the extra features of a product, service (or perhaps even person) that go beyond the standard expectations.
Let’s strip your own products or services down to their essential attributes or benefits. These are usually the minimum things that people expect when they purchase from you.
Now, step into your customers’ shoes to consider how can you embellish your offerings to exceed all expectations.
These are the things that will help to build your brand and create your point of difference.
And they are the things that will get your customers talking about you – for all the right reasons!
7 tips to help you add value
Get faster – One of the simplest ways to add value and ensure your clients are pleasantly surprised is to do what you do faster than you said you would do it!
Deliver best quality – If you go down the quality path, do it with a genuine commitment to be the best. And do it with class. The best quality is the kind that nobody has to point to or shout about. It is delivered quietly, with the kind of understated style that speaks for itself.
Offer convenience – No matter what kind of business you’re in, there are always new ways to offer more convenience. Offering items for sale online, providing free customer parking, packaging products into gift basket or having a simple returns policy are simple examples. We’re all busy and we all appreciate someone who makes things a little easier for us.
Get GREAT at customer service! – This has to be the easiest value-add, and yet so few businesses take up this opportunity! Really great customer service is memorable. It’s what will keep the punters come back time and again. And you can take that to the bank!
Share you knowledge – It sounds counter-intuitive, but my advice is to give away your knowledge whenever you can… FOR FREE. It will come back to you many times over. Your expertise is your greatest asset, so your clients and customers are likely to perceive it as having powerful value.
Add in some TLC – Following on from the notion of great customer service is the idea of a little Tender Loving Care. This may come in the guise of a birthday card, an invitation to an industry event or a free gift with purchase. The more unexpected, the better!
Say thankyou – Please thank you customers. If not for them, you wouldn’t be here! A handwritten note you have penned just for them will be long remembered.