This is step 3 in the Riding the Recession series of articles. Staying relevant and reinventing your offer is something that should happen on an ongoing basis in any market, as being complacent is a cardinal sin in business! So, it’s time to get out your wand and weave some magic!
I established a marketing consultancy during the last recession, against everyone’s advice, and initially I won clients on the basis of a very broad service offering.
Back then, a lot of people still thought marketing was about advertising, or producing brochures (I know, I know….!) so at times, the sales process was an uphill battle. It wasn’t really about the recession, it was about the relevance of my offer.
Here are 10 questions to ask yourself about your products/services, in order to keep them relevant:
1. Is your offering easy to sell?
If not, you need to chunk it down to more manageable offers. For example, when I was offering a broad marketing service, it was difficult to sell because I was trying to be all things to all potential clients! By doing that, I wasn’t focused on any one thing and so it was hard to sell. If you have trouble articulating your offer, it won’t be relevant to your prospects!
2. Is your offer easy to buy?
Same as the above but from the prospect’s perspective. If they can’t get their head around what your offer is it will have zero relevance to their business. Also, if there are too many hurdles or steps in what they need to do to buy your product/service, an alternative offer is likely to have more interest and relevance to them.
3. What is the sales trend for our products/services?
That is, what sells well, what is it that your clients don’t buy much of, and what’s the trend? If there’s a product or service that you offer but no-one is particularly interested in it, you need to replace it with something more relevant, and focus on those products/services that sell well.
4. Is there a pattern in the purchasing sequence?
Which products/services do your clients usually buy first? For example, will they ask you to design a brochure before they ask you to redesign their website? Do they have you develop a strategy first, then do what’s needed to implement it or project manage it? The point of this is that if you know what the sequence is, you can lead your clients into it, rather than focus on just selling one service on an ad hoc basis. Focus on the sequence.
5. Does your offer reflect market trends?
For example, if your marketing firm only focused on printed media and ignored digital, it would have decreasing relevance in the broad market, as clients want a mix of media.
6. Can you quantify the outcomes and value you can deliver to your clients?
This is essential in any business, but in more buoyant markets a ‘nice to have’ offer is more likely to get through. In tougher markets, your offer needs to be a ‘must have’ with tangible ROI for your prospects.
7. Have you converted services to products?
For example, a broad marketing service becomes far more relevant when it is packaged into products, such as Focus Group Product Testing, Lead Generation Campaign Development, Email Marketing Campaign Packages, etc Your prospects understand what the service is by the name you give it, and a product description can highlight the value it delivers and the outcomes it achieves. You can charge a higher fee for a packaged product and outcome, versus an hourly fee for a general service.
8. Have you had conversations with your clients and other business people to determine what their challenges are?
For example, if you are a Sales Consultant you could potentially be having a field day offering lead generation and client growth services to many businesses. If you provide services to your clients and want to secure the business you have, you may consider more favourable terms for your clients.
9. What’s to be scared about the positive aspects of reinvention?
Just because you’ve had your business for many years, doesn’t mean it needs to remain the same as it always has. Consider it time for a spring clean and ‘relevance overhaul’. Leap now, rewards later!
10. Finally, have you looked beyond your own market?
It’s always important to continually look at what other businesses are doing, both in your industry and beyond, and watch what the leading companies are doing. Constantly scan for ideas and fresh perspectives and approaches.
That’s for starters. Get onto it and see what you can do to shift your relevance rating up the scale by next week’s issue!