Race to Zero

Race to Zero – Business Profits and Consumer Savings.

There is such a fine line between business profits and consumer savings. As a business owner, it is so easy to go down the egomaniac path of “win every deal at all costs”. Consumers typically don’t care if you make money and push for every dollar of savings adding to this dilemma. It really can become a race to zero and possibly a death knell for your business. So what do you do to stay in the game with reasonable profits for business continuity?

 


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How Do You Keep Away From a Race to Zero?

What I have found is that there are other ways to sell and not “give away the farm”. Achieving solid business and consumer win-win’s by using common sense tactics and value add deliveries are not just needed but imperative to be successful in today’s marketplace. Let’s start with common sense.

Use Common Sense.

Years back, early in my career, I managed sales teams for car dealers. Among my many transactional sales closing “tools” I would use simple common sense. With the same exact product being sold just miles down the road the consumer felt that price was the only differential. Many times making silly offers and counter offers. So how did I compete and close deals?

Any experienced sales pro and/or sales manager knows there are times where their closing efforts can stall for a variety of reasons. A fresh face and/or approach is needed. In my previous career life I would be asked to talk to the potential client to see what I could do when no other options seemed to be available. I would simply ask the customer “If you owned this business how much would you want to make on a 20-30 thousand dollar investment?”. Always they would be taken aback for a moment. However, I could see a slow realization that they recognized there was a business owner somewhere that was not only making money for their family but their employees were relying on a profit to be made for theirs. It was now not just a battle between the consumer and the salesperson only. Not everyone cared, of course, but I was always impressed how many did.

“The wisdom of the wise is an uncommon degree of common sense.” – Dean Inge

Using common sense can also take the form of simply explaining that all the future services like building, maintenance, support, parts, training etc. come with a cost. “Do you really want to buy from someone that may not be able to stay in business or forced to offer watered down support because of slim deals?”.

An Offering with Clear Value Difference.

Offering a laser focused solution can be a great way to protect from “giving away the farm” as well. Proposing not just a solution but one that they feel:

  • You’re competent and can solve their issues
  • You “get” their company
  • Your support is going to be around a while

My experience is if you address these three things money is not always the deciding factor even if you’re higher. They see the real value for themselves and not view your offering as “commonplace” or a commodity item. When they see you as commonplace or selling a commodity item or service all that is left is discounting.

These are just a few ideas on protecting your margins. There are many more to be sure. Take the time and make sure your offering and advice is a win-win for all. Stop the race to zero.

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Chris Lott is a business solutions consultant with over 10 year’s sales management experience including business ownership, product management and marketing. He also owns and contributes to SalesBlog! and totallysales.

 

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