First, let’s begin with a definition: A commodity is a basic good used in commerce that is interchangeable with other commodities of the same type; commodities are most often used as inputs in the production of other goods or services.
Second, do your clients view your products/services as nothing more than something easily interchangeable with your competitors’ product/service?
Want to break out of the commodity swamp?
If you truly bring value beyond your product/service, then you are in 100% control of changing the game when it comes to client perceptions and client relationships.
Here are just 2 breakout actions to convert a commodity into a brand:
1. “You guys are all the same.”
What do you hear when you hear these words from a client? Quite simply, it means that you have missed something in your sales process. Yes, you have what the client needs or wants, but have you differentiated yourself from the others and have you validated that your solution will deliver the most value to fulfill the client’s needs?
Treat this as you would any common objection. Listen and acknowledge the client’s concern, then explore deeper to gain insight into what may be an underlying concern. Often a client’s initial objection is simply a request for more information. Don’t be defensive and don’t jump into a features-based conversation. The client is looking to you for help to make the decision.
2. “You get pushed to the person you most sound like.”
Did you ever think about this? If you sound like a commodity seller, you will be treated the same from a commodity buyer.
Change your approach. Think about your client’s Operating Reality. Are you viewing the opportunity through the eyes of the client? What problems are you trying to solve? If you have trouble answering these questions, there is a good chance the client will only judge you by comparing your price with the other swamp dwellers.
Change your habits. Are you “in the habit” of doing something different, separating yourself from the pack? For example: when does the sales process end? The short answer is NEVER!
Once a contract is signed it is time to deliver on commitments and continue to sell the value you are providing currently and additional value you can provide in the future.
Be sure to facilitate an expectations meeting with your new client’s decision-makers to define success and come to agreement on priorities that you will implement and measure.
Schedule Quarterly Business Reviews as you are implementing your solution. Establish early on that you will continuously measure the value of your relations and align your activities with the client’s changing needs. At the same time, begin to seek out new opportunities that will expand you base and again bring value to the relationship.
What do you do after you sign a three-year contract? All too often, a sales rep files away the agreement and basically waits 30 months to remember to re-engage with the client. If that is your SOP (or standard operating procedure), then let me be the first to inform you that when you attempt to resign the agreement for another three years, you are positioning yourself to lose or, at the very best, resign an agreement at a percentage lower than your previous revenue and margin. Treat an agreement as the beginning of your sales process and immediately expand your relationship beyond the commodity buyer.
Start with just these two actions to start seeing a difference in your client relationships and sales outcomes.
At Butler Street, we help our client’s change the way they are viewed by the client’s. Let us help you articulate how you can bring value to your client relationships to improve your revenue and margin opportunities. Give us a call.