It’s always nice to know that sometimes dispensing advice is met with a positive a result. You’ll remember in some previous rants I revealed some great strategies for “never paying retail again” for anything and even “how to save thousands of dollars buying a car”.
Well one of the Platinum members read the rant about buying a car twice the day we posted it on the net, and immediately went and bought a car using the tactics described and instantly saved $6,000 on his purchase. Now, not quite sure what the return on investment is but I figure it would have taken most people about 6 minutes to read, his return on investment therefore equals $1000 a minute. Not bad if you can get it! Of course, that’s what I call implementation. Congratulations!
Anyway, another member raised an interesting point, here it is in her own words…
I always read and love the now called rants and thank you very much. The car rant was excellent. I have a question regarding the rant before this one, about asking “Is this the best price” etc… This is all good.
My question is how do I respond when I have client who comes to me and uses a similar scenario. How do I maintain the best price for me and my business in this situation?”
In answer to your question, the number one thing for us is positioning, how we set ourselves apart and what we are known for. We never want our prospects or clients to be able to make an apples to apples comparison, us with a competitor. Instead, we always want to be apples to oranges. So first and foremost, set yourself apart from a competitor so as that you never become a commodity, bought on price alone.
Positioning yourself as an authority is a very powerful selling tool that eradicates price shoppers. It’s called “Take Away Selling”
Which do you perceive to be better? A hair salon where you have to make an appointment a week in advance or one where you walk in off the street and get your hair cut. Nobody goes to see the wise man at the bottom of the mountain – you must position yourself at the top of the mountain. Create the impression that people will have to scale the hypothetical mountain to get to you. You must project some exclusivity.
So what is ‘take-away’ selling? It is when people can see how buying from you or procuring your services will benefit them, but it’s not going to be too easy for them to reach you – they can see it, but they can’t quite have it and so they desire it with more urgency!
I coached a Landscape Gardener who uses this technique during the sales process. His spiel sounds something like this …
“At ‘Green Garden Landscape’ you are dealing with a company that personally oversees your whole project from the design, excavating, demolishing and construction using our own teams of qualified trade people to bring your dreams to reality with little disruption to daily life. You see, we guarantee to finish on time and on budget. Now you may be comfortable with a more conventional one man band jack-of-the-trade type of landscaper who is not as selective about taking in work”.
My client then takes out his address book and says “If you would like to entrust your landscaping to someone who prefers to operate like that, I can recommend several landscapers. But if you would like us to prepare rough drawings for you we can get underway immediately”
Take Away Selling is positioning from start to finish. It basically says, “I’m picky about who I accept as a client, do you qualify?”
I didn’t invent this. In major cities like New York and LA there are apartment buildings where you can’t rent an apartment. To meet the standards required for you to rent or buy there, you must be sponsored by an existing tenant, your application is put to the vote by all the existing tenants … you have to jump through hoops just to be permitted to buy.
Many Doctors, Hair Stylists, Therapists, Attorneys and such, have what we call Leading Lists Practices.
Why shouldn’t you carry this air of exclusivity over to your business, and the point is if you have enough business flow, enough big prospects being magnetically attracted to you, you will have to say “no” to some and in the final analysis, your positioning will become your position.
Take Away Selling is very powerful psychologically. Everybody wants the tickets they can’t get – the ones that will get you into that exclusive club. Stepping back from a prospect draws him to you, stepping toward him drives him away. This very same phenomenon occurs in any relationship, whether business or personal. Try it as an experiment. In conversation, move physically away from the other person and watch as she/he moves towards you. Now step closer to him/her and they’ll step back. It’s no different in the less tangible area of the psyche.
So I want to be positioned from the very beginning with credibility and status, so my clients eagerly pursue me, rather than me having to do the pursuing.
Fake It, Until You Make it.
What if you’re just starting out? For sales people already doing well, but seeking the ‘break-through’, to truly exceptional success, I will give you one basic example. Imagine that while you were out of the office briefly a really hot prospect called, somebody whose name you recognised and whom you’d love to get an appointment with. When do you call that person back, immediately, later that day, the next day?
I’m here to tell you that even if you have no-one else to call, nowhere to go and nothing to do, you do not even contemplate returning that call immediately! Where are you on ‘that mountain’, at the top or the bottom? You just cannot afford to appear overly eager or too easily accessible.
You might think “Hey, I’ll demonstrate how responsive I am, how good I am with providing service”. Well that may apply after the sale, but not before, and if that sounds gimmicky, I’m sorry but I’ve just been straight with you. The prospect’s respect for you diminishes if you are too easy to get to!
I personally now genuinely struggle to return calls quickly and that is simply because my positioning has become my position. It takes me between three days to a week, now to return many of my calls, or they get delegated to a scheduled appointment.
First you decide upon, define, stake out and courageously claim a position.
Then you behave as such a position demands. You also have to work seriously on validating the position, and before you know it, the positioning you’ve created for marketing purposes becomes your actual position.
If you read the works of prosperity conscientious authors like Catherine Ponder and Stuart Wild, you see that positioning is a powerful application to self fulfilling prophecy. Then if you really study the works and understand the meaning of Napoleon Hill’s dominant thought principal, as I call it, the secrets Dr Hill refers to at the beginning of his book, you will gain more clarity about what to do and how to do it. You will then occupy the position you have worked hard to reach.
Unfortunately corporate Australia and the academic fraternity, insist on conditioning us to believe that we need something else to “position” us . . . a degree, a title. But if I adhered to that regulation in the entrepreneurial world, I would have starved … and so will you!
My own experience is a case in point. After 24 years of buying and selling run down or under performing businesses and selling them for massive profits. I met with a close personal lawyer friend, for a cup of coffee and asked him whether he thought the business world would want to know “how I did it”? His reply was “Where is your degree, qualification?”. I thought “Yes he is right, why would anyone want to listen to me?” And it set me back 6 to 12 months! The deafening moral of that story is … don’t always listen to well meaning friends and relatives!
In the real world of business, it works the opposite way to what we are led to believe. The super successful person firstly decides on his position, and then backs it up with achievement.
Let’s take an insurance agent who wants to specialise in dealing with C.E.O’s of family owned businesses. The traditional school of thought says he ought to go to a bunch of classes and seminars, take courses, even study for exams to be certified as an ‘expert’. Of course all of this usually takes a significant amount of time. He then spends a number of years of his life labouring with one, then two, then three clients. And very gradually, the community at large begins to takes notice of him. Finally maybe some respected association, or the media, proclaim him an expert in his field. You should live so long!
In the real world of selling, here’s what the smart agent does. She prepares herself as best she can, then she proclaims herself Western Australia’s Specialist in advising senior members of family owned businesses. After that, she gets busy doing things that synergise with and support that position. She writes a book, gives a lecture, a seminar. She starts sending out news releases to the media with the intention of being interviewed as an expert. He or she focuses all of his/her marketing to support this position and then he/she is that position.
Here’s another couple of positioning statements I’ve had something to do with that revolutionised people’s businesses virtually overnight.
“We repair your car right the first time or fix it for free, or book and pay for a competitor to do it for you.”
“Bigger, better tasting pizzas with twice the topping or it’s free!”
“The world’s most comfortable work boot, guaranteed.”
“At last, a Mobile Tax Return Service that Guarantees Returns within 14 Days or Less or Your Money Back”
“Regrow your own hair or double your money back”
“If after you rent a car from us you find another car rental company with better service and value for money we will book and pay your next rental with a competitor.”
“The best possible hassle free property finance tailor-made for you or we pay you $100 for wasting your time.”
None of the positioning statements above were costly to implement, in fact, in most cases, they just made a statement of fact of what they were already doing. There you are, I hope this gives you more of an idea about how to position yourself in the marketplace. Arguably, it’s the most important thing you will ever do. In a financial sense, one of the most rewarding, and you’ll never have to worry about price shoppers again.
Committed to multiplying your profits.