We know that most people are NOT price only shoppers. What customers really want is a good value. Real value is when the customer believes they are getting something greater than the price they are paying.
There are two sides to this equation, the price side and the value side.
Far too often, businesses work on the price side of the equation rather than the value side, reducing the price rather than raising the value of the product or service being sold. Sales slip, customers aren’t buying, prices get lowered. Blatant slashing of prices is just one way businesses focus too much on price. Another more insidious way is to “add more for the money.”
Some businesses think that by giving the customer extra stuff for the price tag, they are actually working on the value side of the equation. Unfortunately, they’re not. For example, a business might offer larger portions, extra services, additional products for the same price. This is not adding value, it’s actually lowering the price of these additional benefits to zero, again working on the price side of the equation. So, how do you add value? Let’s look at two ways: through innovation and the customer’s experience.
Innovation means to introduce something new or different. It happens on three levels: products, processes, and delivery.
You can be innovative by offering a product or service that is not currently being offered. Oh boy, how do you do that? Your competition can sell the same thing that you can sell, right? Yes, they can, but you can enhance that product through innovation.
In the HGTV show Color Splash, designer David Bromstad often creates an original piece of art for each home he transforms. Local Waco, Texas designer Missy Balusek of Vintage 101 also does this by creating a unique piece of furniture to each home that she designs. Both David and Missy sell the same thing as their competition, design services, but they are innovative in that they also offer something that cannot be offered by their competition.
How can you be innovative in selling what you sell?
What can only you offer that your competition cannot?
Now, let’s look at your processes. The best way to be innovative with your processes is to imprint them with your personality and your ideas. For example, I am a marketing coach and consultant. I’ll bet if you toss a shoe out of your office window you will probably hit a marketing consultant in the head. There are a lot of them. How can I possibly stand out? By developing my own process for delivering marketing advice.
What process can you create that is uniquely you?
The final level of innovation is delivery, how you deliver what you sell. That, my fellow entrepreneur is why the customer experience is so important. The customer experience is the delivery channel of what you sell.
The Customer’s Experience
The most powerful way to work on the value side of the equation is to enhance the customer’s experience. People will pay more for an innovative experience that they perceive as more valuable than an average experience. That’s why people pay more to eat in upscale restaurants. Sure, the food is great at places like Cheeves Bros. Steakhouse in Temple, Texas, but it’s the experience that justifies the check. It’s why couples carefully choose where they will celebrate Valentine’s Day, and why they’re willing to pay more for an experience they’ll remember. And that’s the key: making memories.
I recently wrote an article for The Washington Post describing how memorable customer experiences enhance the value of your brand. Creating specific memories in your customer’s experience is innovative, because those memories cannot happen any place other than your business. When those memories get retold, your business gets talked about. Thus the value of what you sell increases.
How can you create memories in your customer experience?
It’s time to spend more time on the value side of the equation. Maybe you can charge a price that both you and the customer think is fair.