Within our free-enterprise system, we are all looking for the same thing—the “best deal.” When we buy goods, services, and even when we hire employees, we want to get the greatest value we can for the time, effort and money spent.
It should be no surprise that our customers and employees are also looking for the best deal from us! However, the best deal may not be what you think.
What is the Best Deal?
Many people equate the “best deal” with the “best price.” Business owners are often committed to having the “lowest price in town.” Many of these owners also struggle to survive because their operating profit margins are too low. What they fail to realize is that customers looking for the best deal are not necessarily insisting on the lowest price.
Customers reward companies that serve them best, and allow the others to fail. It is how the customer feels about your business as a whole that matters most. Everything about your business—advertising, cleanliness, return merchandise policy, courtesy and knowledge of employees, product selection, price, location, delivery time, and so forth—is what they are choosing. Your entire business is your product, and it must shine throughout. When it does, YOU become the “best deal!”
High Value is Better than Low Price
Sometimes pricing does play a role in helping companies become the best value to their customers. Legitimate price advantages do happen. I am acquainted with a landscaper who is the owner of a local rock quarry. He has a significant price advantage over other landscapers who must transport boulders a greater distance.
However, the cry, “We have the lowest price," is often a sign of weakness. Translated, it usually means the business has not invested in marketing, quality people, killer customer care, and other expenses incurred by well-run companies. Remember, everything about your company is what makes it the best deal—OR NOT.
When I grab a quick lunch during the day, I sometimes go to a sandwich shop that is close to my office. I can get in and out quickly. The prices are relatively low, and no tip is required. At that moment, the sandwich shop is the best deal for me.
On the weekend, I take my wife out to dinner at a steak-house restaurant. I will pay three or four times as much for a meal there as I did at the sandwich shop. This popular uptown restaurant has a nice ambiance, provides an unrushed full-course meal, and I am able to court the love of my life. At that moment, the steak-house restaurant is the best deal in town, not the low-end sandwich shop.
On our wedding anniversary, I took my wife to an exclusive restaurant in Salt Lake City. I paid an outrageous price, but it was a night she will never forget. Of the three restaurants, this one provided the greatest value of all: a lifetime memory.
So, the best deal in this case is not related to pricing. Instead, it is the highest perceived value based on my current need. At each restaurant, I wear the hat of a different customer with different expectations, and I have a different definition of what is the best deal.
Be the Best in Your Target Market
Since no business can serve everyone well, it is important to define your target customer and then provide real, quantifiable, and compelling reasons to buy from you. You want your target customers to see you as the best choice available to them. If you own the exclusive dinner restaurant, you don’t care about the guy who wants a cheap chicken sandwich. No other customer matters except your target customer!
Remember, if your competitors offer a greater value than you, customers will buy from them. And don’t think you can make up for the value deficit by trying to “out-sell, out-trick, out-technique, out-cold call, out-persist, and out-luck all your competitors” (Rick Harshaw, Monopolize Your Marketplace). Today’s consumers know value when they see it. You simply must be the best in your target market. Period!
Innovation Can Set You Apart
You become the best by constantly innovating. Innovation is the process of figuring out how to offer more value than your competitors. Innovation is not doing something cool that your competitors also do. It is not just giving your customers what they have come to expect as the norm, or offering a gee-whiz promotion from time-to-time.
Innovation is not necessarily a new invention or business concept. It may just be as simple as outrageous customer care (COSTCO), or delivery times that amaze (FedEx), or an exceptional warranty (Hyundai).
Your value may simply be the result of well-crafted business systems and processes—the distinct and remarkable way you do things from end-to-end. By the way, when your people, products and processes work together in a unique and memorable way to make you the best deal, you have a brand.
Ask yourself one simple question: If I were a customer of my business, what would compel me to buy from me instead of my competitors? If you don’t know the answer to this question, your business is probably under-performing. Get in the Zone today and figure out your unique selling advantage.
Because there is a cost to becoming the best, the customer actually pays a premium for the privilege of doing business with remarkable companies. However, customers must think this is OK because they keep coming back.
Remember, your business as a whole is what makes you the best choice. It’s the little things that count.
And you will be the BEST DEAL!