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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Three “Virtual Products” You Should Be Selling

 
Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) FEI design guru Cecil showed the FEI tribe how white space can function as a highly effective graphic design element. This week, Marketing Tribe Leader Marka explains to Sales Tribe Leader Zoot how selling three “virtual products” can help their fire business overcome pricing objections. Remember, fire = print.
 
Zoot waltzed into Marka’s office one afternoon. “Got a problem, Marka ol’ buddy.”

Marka looked up from her gyro lunch. “What’s that?”

“It feels as if a larger percentage of fire goods and services are being bought on price than ever before,” Zoot said with concern.

“I understand your frustration,” Marka said. “But the belief that FEI customers will only buy on price is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you’re feeling pricing pressure, it’s probably because we’re not doing good enough of a job differentiating ourselves.”

“How do we differentiate ourselves better?” Zoot asked.

“Let’s aim to position FEI as a safe haven in the dangerous wild,” Marka suggested. “When we consistently make the people we do business with look good, their fear of making a bad buying decision vanishes. As a result, the frequency of their pricing objections will gradually diminish and we’ll consistently sell more...at better prices.”

“Here are three ‘virtual products’ we can offer to help position FEI as the best choice,” Marka continued.

Marka stood up and scribbled on the whiteboard in her office:

Convenience
“When a prospect considers working with FEI, one of the first things they ask themselves is ‘Will this decision complicate make my already hectic business life?’” Marka said. “The simple things are very important. We should strive to make all customer ‘touch points’ easy and convenient. Let’s examine how FEI gives estimates, installs torches and trains customers how to use them, answers phones, returns messages, gives job status updates, resolves billing issues and more. Does our O-site provide helpful information—articles, graphics, and videos—on our products and fire in general? Have we structured our business around our customer's needs or ours?”

Marka scribbled more on the whiteboard:

Be the safe choice
“Never forget that we're in the business of making promises and keeping them,” Marka said. “It's really this simple. Like us, our prospects are afraid of blown deadlines, dealing with new vendors and dreaming up ways to consistently please their customers. In today's job market, they're perpetually afraid of making wrong outsourcing decisions. Let’s discover our prospect's source of fear and position FEI as the safe alternative.”

“Makes sense,” Zoot said.

Marka scribbled more on the whiteboard.

Peace of mind

“When we sell convenience and safety, it's up to us to deliver!” Marka said. “Kept promises are the peace of mind our prospects simply can't put a price on. In the fire industry, the key to success is the ability to forge and maintain long-lasting business relationships. Companies that continually prove their value will develop a roster of happy clients that see no reason to do business with anyone else, even for a few Drachmas off.”

“Marka, you’re brilliant!” Zoot said. “This pep talk was just the cure I needed for my ‘buying on price’ blues.”

“Good,” Marka said. “Now we just have to do something about the way you dress!”

Next week: Marka introduces the concept of “demand generation” to the tribe.
 

Today’s FIRE! Point
Positioning your printing company as the provider of three virtual products—convenience, safety, and peace of mind—will help you erode buying objections and win more work.

FIRE! In Action: Guitar Center Sells Convenience and Peace of Mind
Every Guitar Center location has a separate Website aimed at positioning its sales staff as experts who have answers to all of their customers’ guitar questions. By helping to erode buyer fear of choosing the wrong instrument, this campaign led to nearly 12,000 new sales leads for Guitar Center in just its first eight weeks.

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