Finding Existing Value
Over the past 30 years we have seen an amazing array of great services that our clients have brought to the marketplace. Often they have offered these services to their customers for years, but the services were never used in their marketing messaging. Most often, they were buried in the sales process, or even used as an afterthought in an effort to close a deal.
So we began to take inventory of the most effective offerings. Identifying which were most effective in which markets at what time in the sales process. Based upon these experiences, Linx has developed and fine-tuned a strategy and methodology to bring these Unique Selling Propositions (USP’s) up front in the sales process into the marketing message as Branded Services™. Today, we help clients and their customers see new value within their brands that were never seen or leveraged before.
A Branded Service™ adds exceptional value to ubiquitous or commodity products by layering unique value into the service with a proprietary marque that differentiates the offering in the marketplace. It allows your organization to use a brand to describe a whole set of attributes in a single icon and/or name.
Whether your company sells a product or a service there are many ways to integrate Branded Services™ into your offerings. By assessing your current processes, crucial offerings and identifying the key service attributes associated with decision points in the sale, your team can organize and score the importance of “how you do business” and create or turn existing services into new ways to “go to market”.
Branded Services™ can be created among many different functional areas with your business, no matter what type – a manufacturer, distributor, service provider or professional services firm.
|Branded Service Types|
|Delivery Speed or Costs||Quoting Process or Timelines|
|Extended Warranties||Risk Mitigation|
|Extra Service Levels||Self-Serve Models|
|Financing Options||Speed to Market|
|Guaranteed Service Levels||Timeliness of Service|
|Loyalty Programs||Unique Operational Processes|
|Overall Value Versus Cost||Amortization of Upfront Costs|
|Payment Terms||Value Added Services|
Anchoring the Sale
Almost all of our clients have seen how a branded service can help bring in new customers and solidify existing relationships. By leading with your Branded Service as part of your core offerings, you elevate the conversation to value instead of merely price. Literally altering the customer’s bias toward a price discussion. This changes the conversation dramatically… in your favor!
Sticking with technical definitions – anchoring is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions. During decision-making, anchoring occurs when individuals use an initial piece of information to make subsequent judgments.
So when we researched the market for our client Topaz Lighting and found out that their customer base was focused on two key elements of the sale – price and next day delivery. We created a branded service that focused on delivery and convenience to offset the “Price Only” based sale. This not only created an important focus on one of Topaz’s key competitive advantages, but also helped improve their margins.
Most purchasing decision are made on risk reduction over potential gain. So helping customers see specifically how you will lower their risk if they work with your company over another brand is essential. The adage, “you don’t get fired for buying IBM” is a good example of this phenomenon.
Having your team create a complete list of objections and building Branded Services™ that minimize or eliminate these issues are key to creating more sales and building your customer base.
One great example of this is the upfront cost to create molds for plastic and metal manufacturing. These are costly and have a life span that requires additional investment once their useful life expires. To deal with this issue, Linx created a new way to go to market for our client Bryant Rubber. We built a program that allowed companies to amortize the cost of the molds over the life of the product run – “Mold for Life”. This eliminated the customers’ upfront capital expenditure and changed the decision making process in the sale. In addition, the company was now able to create additional margin on every sale by charging for the (mold) cost of capital with interest. So by adding a fraction of a penny to each part the client got the added benefits of lower up-front costs, while Bryan Rubber added margin to each sale.
Price Matching Can Also Improve Margins
As the two examples above exemplify, Branded Services™ clearly improve margins as they open new doors. Even branded services around price guarantees are shown that by adding the confidence your price is guaranteed to be low, you can actually increase the selling price, as long as you will match the requests that are made against the guarantee. Amazingly, less than 0.5% of all sales are made using a price match guarantee.
There are other ways to offer branded services surrounding price that does not include a price match. One of the best price oriented branded service we created recently is TruCost for Thuro Metal Company. This brand helps sell our other services while allowing customers to see how bundling/kitting the products production effectively costs less.
Brand Your Value Today
So give your sales and marketing team the challenge to develop a series of branded services. Use the list provided and see what they can achieve. Alternatively, give us a call and we will show you how to open more doors and close more “profitable” sales.