Your customer’s attitude is your guide to how you sell and how you market. It also helps you make decisions about adding to or changing the services and products you offer. Attitude is not all about a customer’s wants, desires or needs. It is about their point of view (POV)— at least as it relates to what you have to offer them. The good news is you can choose what is the best customer attitude and POV for your business success from three options. Then you can focus on attracting customers who have the right attitude match. This will make your business a lot better for everyone.
Contract negotiations and re-negotiations can be risky business. Both parties go into it with the assumption of the potential for conflict. If you are the provider, you do have a secret weapon: your existing customers and their contracts.
These existing contracts give you precedent that you can use in the negotiations. This is especially true if you do business with a government entity. As my colleague Sandra Stenzel, founder of the Bid Resource Centers in Texas that became the model throughout the US has often said to clients, “the government wants the lowest responsive, responsible bid”. That translates in contract negotation to “we want the best deal” — unspoken is “than you give anyone else”.
In our case, our client was faced with a customer who wanted the same terms as the government got and not an increase in price from the last contract. Reasonable, but not in line with the contracts of their other clients. Our client’s goal was to provide parity with his other non-government contracts for the same work. Also reasonable and necessary for his growth in order to simplify his pricing structure which was definitely not standardized. [Read more…]
Business Challenges: What Goes Up Must Come Down
How many ups and downs has your business experienced? Since we started our business, we have been through seven ups and downs – oil, banking, real estate, savings and loans, dot.com, Wall Street, and now real estate again. It has caused us to refine and redefine our business at least that many times.
If it’s a part life, it does not make sense just to try to survive this one. Another wave is coming. If you own a business, the wave that could take you under could be something global like this “Great Recession” or something unique to you and your business. So be watchful; be prepared for those business challenges that are out there.
There’s nothing wrong with Cost-plus or Value-based pricing when they are done right. Both are good strategies but incomplete in my opinion.
In the case of Cost-based pricing, basically you look at the costs and then add a percentage for profit on top of that number to arrive at a price.
In my experience, those who set the prices don’t know, forget, or leave out costs that they shouldn’t. Sometimes it is the cost of the salary of the principals or putting in enough for contingencies. Just as often they don’t include all the costs involved in being able to provide this product or service before and after getting customer #1. Then there are the true total costs to support and maintain this customer with this product or service. [Read more…]
It’s common wisdom that what people want is a solution. There is even a school of sales training and many books around the concept of “solution selling”.
I disagree. Not everyone wants a solution, i.e. something solved.
Sometimes they want and need something else. Not everything is a “problem” for a customer; sometimes, it’s a “gap” that needs to be filled. I talk to my clients about “gaps” not “problems”.
In my 30 years experience, there are actually six different results a customer values. The one to stress as a benefit and to base your product or services features depends on the Platinum Customer Profile™ of your best customers. [Read more…]
I have proposed a topic, “Best Practices in Pricing”, for ProductCamp Austin. If you’ve never been or ever heard of it, it’s a great day of free business information for product managers, business owners, and those thinking of starting a business. Attendees select the topics the day of the event so they get to hear what they are most interested in that day.
Although the session has sold out, there is a waiting list. I encourage you to get on it. For more information on Austin Product Camp, go to http://productcampaustin.org. For information on my session on Pricing and the 39 other great sessions, go to http://bit.ly/e6chc0. [Read more…]