What does your value proposition tell future customers?
It’s important to begin by observing that your brand and your value proposition are very tightly related. In other words: your brand (logo, designs, language choice etc) expresses indicators about your business and what customers should expect from you.
If these are in conflict, you will end up sending the wrong message and may confuse/put off potential leads. For example, if your image is that of a budget brand, but your products or services are high-end, the leads you attract will immediately be turned off by the unexpected expense or feel the exclusivity is not for them.
However, being open and responsive to any and every lead available also comes at a cost to your business. Therefore it’s not necessarily a bad thing if your branding turns away customers you can’t, shouldn’t or don’t want to serve.
Whether or not you’ve consciously chosen it, your business has a value proposition. Even if your attitude is that you’ll do any job at any price, that in itself is a value proposition. Keeping a conscious eye on your key selling message is important, because it will shape how customers find you, how you sell to them, and how they react to your approach.
Once you’ve put your business out there into the world, it can be difficult (and potentially expensive) to generate inbound leads (i.e. potential customers that find you without you having to find them). That means once you’ve managed to get someone to your website, Facebook page or listing, you need to make sure you don’t lose them before you have a chance to make your pitch.
When you have your branding working for you, attracting the ideal customers and the right type of jobs, it is crucially important that you don’t make it difficult for customers to contact you.
This means you should give people multiple options for getting in touch. Don’t stop at just a ‘contact us’ form on your website; it forces your customers to communicate the way you want them to. Conversations don’t start by filling in text boxes, so don’t rely on this method to connect with people. Let people communicate the way they usually do: via email, over the phone or on social media.
Now it’s true that not all leads are worthwhile, but that’s not a reason to annoy legitimate leads by putting them through the ringer before they can buy from or hire you. Your brand should be established so that it filters your leads before they contact you. You should also develop a quick ‘thanks, but no thanks’ response to enquiries you can’t help.
Saying ‘no’ to work is one of the most valuable things you can do. Great clients tend to lead you to more great clients; mediocre ones to more mediocre work. Being able to quickly – but politely – turn down jobs that don’t fit with your business and your value proposition, will save so much time in the long run.
One way to achieve this is price transparency. During your initial communications with a potential customer, be clear what your minimum order or smallest job is. For clients that are looking to spend less than your minimum it ensures neither of you waste time further pursuing the deal.
To craft a successful quote or proposal, you first have to understand the problem the customer has, and why they think you can solve it. You will win more work, not by answering every question, but by putting forward a solution to a customer problem.
This approach does two things: First, it shows your clients that you care about their problem and their business. Secondly, it positions your business as a trusted advisor and provider of solutions, rather than a transactional contact. No matter what your business is, that is a status you should aspire to.
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