Your Full Value: Do Your Customers Know It?
customers (and potential customers) know the full value you bring to
the table? Before you automatically answer, “Of course, they do!”,
I was at a
nail appointment recently and my nail technician mentioned that she
had just put her father’s house on the market through a local
realtor and had received an offer within two days.
She was probably going to accept the offer, since it was very
close to asking price. However,
she then made the following comment:
“In fact, we’re going to go back to our realtor and ask her
to reduce her commission because it sold so fast, and she doesn’t
have to do any more advertising or much work on it, so we think she
should reduce her commission.”
Being a former realtor myself, I know that the effort involved
in getting an offer and successfully negotiating it is often the
easiest part of the real estate transaction.
However, this comment does bring up a very important point:
our customers have no idea that this is a reality, nor do they
have any idea of what it really takes for us to do our jobs, bring
transactions to a successful close, and handle all the negotiations
and other details (usually invisible to the client) that bring about a
Is it the
same way in your business? Do
you often do so many things behind the scenes that your customers have
no idea how hard you're working for them?
Do they know the expertise it takes to get the job done right -
or do they think they can do just as good a job as you can, without
any education or training at all?
Do they know that there is a cost (often a very high one) of
doing business properly?
about this: when an
attorney charges a large amount of money to bring a criminal or civil
matter to trial for his or her client (and gets paid that large amount
of money, whether or not the client wins or loses), does anyone even
consider asking for money back if the trial takes less time to
complete than anticipated? Especially
if the client wins? Of
course not! This is
because everyone knows the extent of the training and expertise
necessary to a) go to trial, b) competently represent clients, and c)
win. The client is usually
so happy at having been represented at all - and when they’re
successfully represented and win the case, they’re even happier -
that the thought of asking for money back never even enters their
have done an excellent job of showing just how much work goes into
becoming a lawyer. Have we
done as good a job in our industry?
If not, we need to do a better job of educating our clients and
potential clients. Let’s do a few things to make it clear to our
clients exactly how much value we bring to the table:
Let our clients know how much education we received to get our
licenses - and then how much continuing education we receive
(mandatory or not) to continue to improve our skills and value.
We could proudly display our educational documents on our
walls, as lawyers do; or list our additional education, degrees and
designations on our marketing materials.
Even if people don’t know exactly what all those initials
stand for, they know it stands for something - usually a higher level
of education and commitment to knowledge.
Let our clients know what we’re handling behind the scenes,
so they don’t have to be concerned with handling those details
themselves. In fact, we
should list these items up front in our sales presentations to
clients. We don’t have
to inundate them with details, but we should at least be
mentioning/listing these items so they know all that’s going on in
Let our clients know not only what costs we incur on their
behalf, but the fact that there is a cost of doing business every day,
regardless of which client is being served at that particular moment.
If you have educational fees, licensing fees, certification
fees, insurance and other costs, you can diplomatically mention that
there is a cost of doing business - but that this is what allows you
to fully and expertly work on their behalf and/or represent their best
interests. If you didn’t
have all your education and other “business ducks in a row”, you
couldn’t be in business at all, nor could you competently, legally
and ethically serve your clients.
type of situation arose once for me when I was on a real estate
listing presentation. The
potential client asked me, “If our home sells quickly, will you
reduce your commission?” I
replied, “No, just as my commission will not increase if your home
takes longer than anticipated to sell, it also doesn’t decrease if
it sells quickly. My
commission is a set fee, no matter how long it takes.
Does that sound fair?” They
answered, “Yes!” (Once
they realized that I was also being fair to them and willing to do a
lot more work if necessary, for no more cost, they were fine with the
fixed fee.) I then added,
“However, allow me to explain all the other ways I serve my clients
during our time together...” I
then went on to explain all the other things I did, which further
justified the fee in their minds.
They signed the listing agreement, I went on to sell the house
for them, and everyone was happy.
just want to be treated fairly; however, like all of us, they are
human. They just don’t
see the other side when they are looking at the issue from their side.
Help them to:
See your side; put them in your shoes - or the
shoes of another party in the transaction, which will help
negotiations go more smoothly;
Realize you're being fair to them (and it will
help them realize they have to be fair to you); and
See the full value you bring to the table
said, remember that all of this depends on your actually being very
competent, very knowledgeable, and very fair to them.
If you do this - and then let your clients know by your every
word and action that you are a professional, are working on their
behalf and are being fair to them - you will not have a problem
justifying your fees.
Read other articles and learn more
about Sandy Geroux.
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