two gourmet hamburgers with basil

Stop the Indifference!

I live in a city where a hamburger routinely costs more than $25. And while patrons are enjoying them, somewhere nearby is a fast-food joint selling a burger for less than a dollar. Why in the world would someone pay 2,400% more for the same product?  Two reasons: quality and value.

The same is true in business. People will pay more for quality service and products IF they perceive that it’s worth it. The problem I see so often is that the people often charged with convincing new and existing clients of their company’s value proposition have watered it down so much, the offering gets homogenized. As a result, they are lumped in with the “fast food” competitors and aren’t standing out as exceptional.

That’s where indifference rears its ugly head. By indifference, I literally mean that customers see no difference in your offering compared to your competitive set. When that happens, you know what they’ll base their purchase decision on, right? Price.

Welcome to McDonald’s, may I take your order?

Value Is Based on Their Needs, Not Yours

I’m often approached to transform a team of like-minded business development executives to lift their commercial offering. The value of this is stopping customers’ indifference. This happened with my business recently.

I was referred to a head of business development by a client. Upon meeting with him, he acknowledged that we were going to discuss engaging me in coaching his team but emphatically stated that “Basically, you people are all the same, aren’t you?” Ahhh…there it was…indifference! Yikes!!

Then I realized he was upset and wanted to be heard, relative to what had last occurred. As many of you know, I’m big on listening to understand someone’s struggle before I solve anything. So, I asked him why he thought this. He proceeded to detail his disappointment with past consultants and why he grouped them all together as one homogenized unit. The experiences left him feeling like he’d been promised the $25 burger but got the 99-cent version.

Have Them See Your Value

Once I understood what didn’t work, I was then able to present how I’d approach his challenge and what his unique solution path looked like. I used details from our conversation and the unique perspective he provided to craft my responses. It was then that he could start to see that I was relatable, listening, and engaged. I knew I didn’t want to be grouped in with those who had come before me.  But as I reflected on this situation, I realized that what was most important to him was that HE and his team were not homogenized, either.

Ultimately, we were able to agree on a development path that was unique to his company and the individuals involved. And it’s important to note that I didn’t just sell him on my service…I got him to see the value of my service to him and his business. He may still have indifference toward my competitive set but I’m no longer in that group!