How to Thrive in a Slowdown: Understanding Your Value

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How do you position your company so you continue to grow and put a great plan in place? Start with a strong positioning statement.

Our clients are expert service providers and are really good at the thing they do. They know what they do, but don’t always know what it means to their clients and customers.

This is a real chance for leaders to be productive so they can be positioned to leapfrog competitors when things open back up again.

The reason we start with customer perspective goes back to an analogy that we like to use during this process, which is the cardinal rule of dating, especially a first date, is “don’t talk about yourself all the time.” What it really comes down to is that when you’re dating someone, they are interested in you, but they want to feel like you are interested in them. The same applies to marketing.

It’s key to focus on value (not services, company, but VALUE). In using this strategy to engage your customer, your customer becomes more interested in you and values what you can do for them. That is part of every business transaction you have, but a lot of business owners don’t recognize it this way.

You are not the thing you do. You have to recognize why you’re being hired in the first place, but from the customer’s point of view.

How do we do that?

We focus on 2 parts of value delivery.

These are competitive advantage and demand control. Competitive advantage is something that makes a business stand out and differentiates them from others that competitors cannot replicate. Services are generally not where this comes in.

The second part is demand control. It is the fact that there is a value perceived and understood by your customers that you can then tap into through your marketing and sales so that you are turning up the flow on customer inquiries. This is most easily achieved with a sales process that is properly aligned with marketing. Marketing can come into the funnel already educated, ready for conversations, and sometimes even primed to purchase with cohesive marketing strategy.

Companies do have an opportunity right now that everything has slow down to focus on that customer piece of the equation.

The customer doesn’t think about you at all.

Activity: Go read the Wikipedia page about Tylenol. Then, next time you have a headache, got to the Wikipedia page about Tylenol. Determine if you are more willing to take Tylenol than anything else at that point.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) seem to be curiously missing from businesses, while Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) are where most of the activity is attributed. Once you’ve determined what you’re really good at and what you want to focus on. Get out of your head, get out of your building, and really look at it from the customer perspective.

We can help your customers see a better future. The client has a problem, they may not know that they have a problem or what it is. You need to know what working with you before looks like and what working with you looks like after. Everyone wants to get past the point they are at now, that’s why they are searching for services.

It’s hard to lead people somewhere they’ve never been before. That’s really what marketing is, is leading people to a better future for themselves so they want to trust you to get them there. It’s important now because everyone is stressed out and if you just jump in front of them with a product offering you can come off as tone-deaf. But if you take that same message and start from a place of caring about them and their troubles, provide hope, then you can start a great conversation and find hope and a plan.

Leaders may need to step in more often now than normal to get those messages across, have conversations with customers, especially in organizations without account management or who rely heavily on their sales departments. Engage and ask how we can help.

This opportunity is to really understand where value comes from in your business. You can’t control what is happening, but what withstands is a client relationship in which customers really value what you do.

The customer has a job they are trying to do at each stage of their journey and that has very little to do with the company they are trying to do it with. Their story is more personally motivated, even if it’s business-related. It can always be whittled down to a personal need for security, hope, approval, and so many more things that on the sales side no one is thinking about, but they should be. *Check out the video for the Hammer and Nail analogy that Jessica refers to at 15:51 to explain this concept.

Another dynamic at play is that the change isn’t different than the value delivered, clients often produce their own value with the tools you give them. You have really got to understand what clients need and how they deliver value to their clients. If you get to that level, then not only are you ready to implement a marketing system, but you are ready to adapt quickly when things change abruptly. This really reinforces brand equity.

Next Up: Identifying Your Customers. No, it’s Not Everyone.