Give it to make it

It is often said that business owners must spend money to make money. You must invest money in inventory, supplies, advertising, and countless other things before you can even open your door for business. And you must continue to do so.

An often overlooked corollary is giving up something to make money. In this instance, the “something” is information.

To some extent most small business owners do this. They share information with consumers regarding their products and services with the intention of educating the customer. But there is an aspect of this that is often overlooked and under utilized.

Harvey Segal explains this in his free e-book, The Ultimate SuperTip. In fact, he does more than simply explain it–the book itself is a demonstration of this powerful marketing strategy.

Giving away information can be a very effective method for differentiating your business, developing trust and confidence, and “pre-selling” your products or services. For example, in an e-book you can offer tips on product selection, explain the benefits of various options, and position your company as the expert. And this can be done without high-pressure tactics via an e-book.

We live in the Information Age. The Internet, cable television, and many other resources make it easier than ever for consumers to obtain information on the products and services they desire. By giving your customers more information you help them make better purchasing decisions. And that is good for you.

Click here to download The Ultimate SuperTip and learn how to give it to make it.

Imposing our values on customers

In working with small business owners, I am often amazed at how frequently they seek to impose their values upon their customers. Sometimes this occurs is small, subtle ways. And other times it occurs in a huge way.

One of the most common ways small business owners do this is by declaring that customer’s won’t pay higher prices. Many believe that customers only buy on the basis of price, and so they seek to do anything reasonable (and sometimes unreasonable) to keep their prices low.

Certainly, in some industries competing on price is simply the business model. Commodities are a prime example. But even when one is selling a commodity, one doesn’t have to compete solely on the basis of price. The success of brand names is one example.

When an owner refuses to offer his customer options he is imposing his values on the customer. The owner believes something to be true, and acts accordingly. He never bothers to find out if it is true of this particular customer. Rather than offer the customer options–and let the customer decide–the owner offers one option and the customer must take it or leave it.

Over the years I have had many customers buy from me when I would have bet the farm that they wouldn’t. Often, the reason they have bought from me is because I gave them options. I spent the time to learn what they want and why, and then offered a number of solutions to meet their needs.

I don’t like others making assumptions about what I want. They may or may not be correct, but it is my money and I will decide how to spend it. We should do the same with our customers.

Silence can be golden

It is often said that in negotiations “he who speaks first, loses.” The idea is that once you give away your position, the other party can begin to chip away at it and get more concessions. For example, if you are asking $100 for your product, the buyer can ask for a lower price. However, if you let the buyer make an offer, he may offer $110.

This adage isn’t literally and always true. Good negotiating skills, as well as a clear idea of your goals, can make speaking first beneficial. For example, if you want $100 for your product, but initially ask for $110, you have “wiggle” room to offer concessions and still get what you want.

Sales is as much about listening as it is about talking, and perhaps more so. While our goal is to sell our product or service, we should also be trying to create win-win situations. This requires listening to the other party to understand their goals and desires. It means understanding their motivations and the results they are seeking.

While we all want to tout our product or service, sometimes the best way to do this is to keep our mouth shut. Sometimes, if we do more listening than talking we will wind up with the gold.

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