At Technology Marketing Toolkit, one of the most difficult things for our members to get their head around is the USP, or unique selling proposition. Without one, you’re pushing a rope uphill, fighting price sensitivity and the high hurdle of replacing an incumbent provider who might actually be doing a decent to excellent job. YOU are an unknown entity, unproven in your abilities, thereby a RISKY CHOICE to the client. After all, why would anyone incur the cost and time investment to replace a vendor that is doing a satisfactory job with a complete unknown? They won’t unless the incumbent is doing a terrible job, in which case you’re playing vulture marketing, waiting for THEM to screw up and die so you can go pick the carcass. The other alternative is to have something SO compelling and offer such a big, significant benefit that the client will make the leap.
ONE of the ways you can stand out from the competition and close more sales is NOT by being the BEST at what you do, but by being the least risky. We all know talk is cheap (unless it’s with an attorney). Promises and hyperbole uttered by a salesperson are the cheapest talk of all. The bold prospects will say, “Put it in writing.” But most don’t say anything; they just secretly decide to stay put with their current provider or call someone else. Rarely will they verbalize their true concerns. So, how do you fight this?
One way is to lower the risk for a client who does business with you. Years ago I coached a client selling phone systems to implement the following guarantee: “Buy our small business phone system and allow us to install it. You have a FULL YEAR to determine if it’s the right phone system for you and to hold us accountable to our claims of quality and service. If at ANY time during that first year you aren’t convinced you made the BEST possible choice, you can contact us, and we will remove the system we sold you, reinstall your OLD system, and refund 100-percent of our fees.”
Now, THAT’S a bold risk-reversal, and it helped the client close three times the sales he had in the past — at a HIGHER PRICE POINT. Refunds? There were a few, but the money made from the increase in sales far exceeded the money lost to refunds.
In my business, we offer a one-year unconditional guarantee and a second-year conditional guarantee. At Boot Camp, you can attend the entire event and decide it’s not right for you, getting not only your tuition back, but also up to $300 in documented travel fees. For the record, we have more than 1,000 people attending, so that’s a million-dollar-plus risk we’re willing to take. But the reality is that only a few people have ever taken us up on it in the past 10 years. Bottom line, IF you do what you promise and deliver the service and quality you’re saying you do, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
Lower risk for your customers
How do you use this? For one, guarantee a certain level of performance, response, or results. If you don’t meet that level, offer some type of refund. Some of my MSP clients guarantee the first three months to a new prospect. If that prospect feels they are NOT being served as promised, my client will cancel their agreement and refund 100 percent of the money paid. Scary? Only if you know you won’t deliver. But this shows confidence and a willingness to put your money where your mouth is.
#MSPs – Guarantee a certain level of performance. If you don’t meet that level, offer some type of refund. Scary? Only if you know you won’t deliver. @robinrobins @smartermsp
Another ballsy guarantee: “Let us take over the management of your network for three months for $100 down. Pay us the balance AFTER the 90 days are up AND ONLY if you feel we’ve exceeded your expectations.” One client of mine would guarantee a server upgrade by offering to replace the server, at his cost, if it was slow, ran out of space, or otherwise didn’t perform for the full year. I’ve had clients guarantee the appointment (our Godfather offer, an offer so good you can’t refuse) by offering to write a check for $100 to $500 on the spot if the prospect feels they’ve had their time wasted.
Here’s the exercise for YOU: Sit down and think through all the ways you can LOWER THE RISK of doing business with your MSP. Put written, specific, no-wiggle-clause guarantees on your services, and test it in the next sales call you go on. That’s the great thing about ALL of this — you can TEST it. I’m not asking you to tattoo this on your forehead permanently — everything is worth testing. This COULD be the big breakthrough you’ve been needing to differentiate yourself and close more sales at higher price points without having to engineer something truly unique about what you do.
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