Selling Yourself Short - How to stand-out without lowering your price
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what you do for a living perceived by potential customers as being a
commodity; more or less the same as others in your
profession? When that happens,
customers revert to the
easiest differentiator – price. The
outlook gets worse as you realize that somewhere in the global economy
likely someone offering similar products or services for a cheaper
price. And with the
internet it’s easier for your
customers to find them. What’s
frustrating is when you know your products and services are indeed
but customers don’t seem to get
and put you in the same category as everyone else.
The good news is
you can change customer perceptions by changing the way you describe
when I discuss this
in my speeches and seminars, participants will often write to me
explaining this is one of the most useful tips they
picked-up. Your goal is to have a
thinking, “If I don’t explore this further with this person, I could be
a good thing.”
Your own worst enemy
How would you
describe what it is you that you do for a living?
Most of us automatically commoditize our
job. We say, “I’m
an insurance broker”,
or “I’m a personal financial advisor.”
Imagine meeting a potential customer at an industry
luncheon and giving
that type of label to what you do.
words “I’m a…” imply that that
are other people who do exactly what you do.
In other words you sabotage your uniqueness with your
first two words.
Be a pain reliever
describing yourself in terms of a generic label, you can instead refer
ultimate benefit that you deliver.
you sell liability insurance for example, you could describe your
terms of reducing risk for business owners.
Keep in mind, there are two ways to describe benefits. One is
the pleasure gained
and another is the
pain avoided. A
financial advisor for
example, might describe her service as “helping people retire in
(pleasure gained). Or
she could describe
what she does as “preventing people from having to work until they die
they can’t afford to retire” (pain avoided).
Interestingly, when it comes to spending money sooner
rather than later,
customers are more often motivated by avoiding pain than gaining
Of course, the
idea in conversation with a potential customer is not to ramble on
you do – that sounds boorish and pushy.
Instead, say only enough to tweak the other person’s
you are a hair stylist attending a
chamber of commerce event. When
asks what you do for a living you could reply with the generic, “I’m a
chances are the
other person already has a hairstylist, considers your service to be a
so they change the topic.
heard networking ‘experts’ state that you’re supposed to have an
(a 30 second commercial ready to recite).
The problem in the real world when you’re talking with
customers, is the 30 second infomercial sounds so phony and contrived
them off more than tweaks their interest.
Instead, as a hairstylist you might reply a simple
benefit, “I help people fix personal image problems.”
This time you’re more likely to have
stimulated their curiosity. Their
question naturally becomes, “How do you do that?”
Now you’ve been invited
to describe your products/services in an even more
Getting in their
At this point in
the conversation, you can describe what you do with an example that the
customer can relate to. An
easy way is
start with the words, “You know how…”
Then complete the sentence explaining how your service
fixes a common
example, when the chamber
of commerce member asks the hairstylist how she fixes personal image
she might respond with, “You know how
most men have the same haircut that they’ve had all their adult lives –
is suits them or not? And
you know how most hair stylists
just ask how you want your cut and you usually get the same thing
done? Well, when I work with a
client I start by
looking at the person’s most attractive facial features, then we come
up with a
cut that not only highlights their most attractive features but also
their lifestyle.” This
time the stylist
has differentiated herself in the mind of the potential
customer. She stands out as offering
service. And price
has become less of a
source of comparison.
The beauty of
the relevant example is that it applies to the other person’s
why it’s helpful
to start any conversation by first finding about the other
person. It also happens to make
you a more
interesting conversationalist because your beginning by discussing most
people’s favorite topic; themselves.
next time you need to set yourself apart from the competition – beyond
lowering prices – try changing the way you talk about what you do for a
About the Author
article is based on the critically acclaimed book, Becoming
90 Minutes a Month by business strategist,
international speaker Jeff
Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about
for your team, visit www.jeffmowatt.com
call 1-800-JMowatt (566-9288).
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-11-04 15:26:56 in Marketing Articles