It was a beautiful balmy afternoon in Paris. A young woman walking past the cafes on the Left Bank came across Pablo Picasso sketching the people walking by.
Excitedly, she walked up and asked if the great master would sketch her. “Certainly Mademoiselle, sit down.”
Ten minutes later he whipped the paper off the easel, gave her the charcoal sketch and said, “That will be 500 francs.”
“500 francs?”, she exclaimed. “But you only took 10 minutes!”. Picasso’s reply? “Yes, 10 minutes and 40 years of honing my skill.”
Now our clients certainly aren’t Picassos. But they are experts in their own fields, and often have to contend with growing competition and dwindling margins due to price shoppers who’ve been trained by our major retailers to constantly expecting a discount!
Ironically, the whole issue stems from their own competence. Yes, competence.
Think about it this way. When you’re extremely competent in any area, you make things look easy. From your vast experience you intuitively know what’ll work and what won’t.
Our clients all sell high value products and/or services. They range from specialist Financial Planners, high end manufacturers of industrial equipment, to a gentleman who delivers high end performance coaching to senior leaders in education.
They are all extremely good at what they do. And they all have trouble articulating their value and explaining what their clients get and why I as a client should be paying a premium.
My answer is always the same. You have to tell me. You must articulate the problems I’m facing and position yourself as the expert by demonstrating exactly how you’d go about solving them.
You must back it up with facts and figures where appropriate. Tell me about your education, experience, your failures and successes. Tell me what your process is and why you go about things the way you do.
And the more detailed you can be, the better. There is magic in the detail.
I’ll get to some examples in a second, but first some of you will be thinking, “Who’d be interested in all this detail?”
The short answer is, “The people who want it.” And believe me, they are more of them than you think.
While I know people who choose their cars based on colour and having coffee cup holders, there are plenty of others who will do a bunch of in-depth research devouring every scrap of information the manufacturer produces. No amount of detail could be enough for these people. And yes, I’m one of them!
A client we helped become the second most profitable subsidiary worldwide behind Germany manufactures high end welding equipment.
Faced with the constant threat of cheap Chinese imports at a quarter of the price, how could they compete in a dwindling Australian manufacturing landscape where price was becoming a determining factor in buying decisions?
The answer was to tell prospects (and clients) how their machinery was superior. Superior in European build quality – so the machines would last 10 to 15 years, not the 1 to 2 of the Chinese imports. But more importantly, the computer software running each machine that allowed very average welders to weld like pros under difficult circumstances and difficult weld types.
These machines drastically reduced defects, rework and clean-up which under normal circumstances can double the time taken to produce the final product which meant a considerable saving on the bottom line.
But their customers would never know unless they told them and demonstrated the value.
Or the property buyer we helped double his pricing by having him explain the process he goes through before recommending properties to his clients.
His clients never knew about the relationships he had with local real estate agents who’d call him before going to the public as they knew they’d get a quick sale (making their lives easier).
Or the intense local knowledge he had regarding certain areas of Sydney. Or how he could help you buy a property that was in a ‘distressed state’ cheap, clean it up and have it massively increase in value for very little additional outlay on your part. Or how he could save clients thousands on renovations by using the right tradespeople.
Well they do now and I noticed he recently raised his prices again and still has a flood of eager customers.
Then there’s the gentleman who’s offering a teacher coaching and student feedback program currently targeted at Catholic Secondary Schools in Victoria.
He has a great track record with schools in the UK as well as here in Australia and wants to get his message out to more schools.
It’s a high value service which starts at $25,000 for the first year and our goal was to help him get his message out to relevant Principals who are looking at ways to improve student learning outcomes.
We’re doing this by talking about the issues schools are facing, what his program does, how it works and the results schools both here and in the UK have achieved in a very short timeframe.
In a white paper sent directly to Principals, we go into a lot of depth regarding the science and philosophy behind the program, use extensive case studies which show qualitative and quantifiable results where possible.
As a result we’ve generated a number of high quality leads where he can continue the conversation. An interesting piece of feedback from leads is they all enjoyed the information we sent them.
So how do we go about achieving these results?
It all comes down to research.
We often spend days, even weeks researching our clients products. In some cases I’ve even read multiple books on the subject. Our aim is to completely understand:
- Your background and how to tell your story so prospects relate to you
- Exactly what it is the product or service does
- How it does it
- What makes it different
- Where the value is and how we can demonstrate it
- Who your clients currently are – their fears, frustrations, wants and desires.
- Who could they be in the future – what new markets could exist
- How we can get your message in front of them
Then and only then do we start creating a marketing system that fully explains the what you do and the value they get. My expertise is explaining complex products or services in simple terms so your audience go, “I get it – I want that!”
So if you’re sitting in a competitive market or have a complex product/service you’d like to get out there, we can help. Call us on (02) 9499-7958 for a confidential discussion.