Making sure you have highly noticeable Unique Selling Points (USPs) is an effective marketing tool. But we here at Back Office Shared Services would like to remind you that, aside from attracting customers away from your competition, USPs serve another important function – if you don’t offer your clients unique values then the only thing different about your firm from anyone else’s is your price.
If your price is your only difference, then it’s the only thing that your clients are going to want to discuss when you present your firm’s proposal.
1. Educate Your Clients
If you don’t want to be the bottom-of-the-barrel firm that keeps giving up its price points then you need to educate your clients as to what it is your firm will do for them.
Back Office Shared Services wants to remind you that what you are is not just a menu of services.
What you are instead is your USP. So for example, your firm is a godsend for fledgling businesses just starting out because you have multiple-tiered packages that will handle a new company’s taxes, or (moving up in tiers), their taxes and payroll, or their taxes and payroll and accounts receivable.
So you educate your clients that (in this case) you’re not in the accounting business, you’re in the business of stress-relief for newborn entrepreneurs. You’re saving them time and worry, and your prices reflect the effort and care you put into this USP.
2. Don’t Quote a Price Until You Know What You’re Getting Into
Back Office Shared Service’s next reminder is that you don’t want to be caught out agreeing to taking on a client at a set price only to have them tack on one extra little thing they’d like you to do for them… and then another… and another.
Here’s how best to avoid this – get everything down on paper. When you first meet with the prospective client have the meeting’s agenda as a document. This lets you control the meeting and it sets down in black and white the relationship you’re going to have with the client.
Back Office Shared Service’s tip here is, either on the agenda itself or on a separate page, have a point-form outline of exactly what is expected from both parties.
So on your end you’re agreeing to render the services of your Value Package A, with paperwork done no later than such and such a date, and so on.
From the client you expect payment for services by a certain date, all info sent to you by another date, etc.
By laying everything out in a document it’s very clear exactly what work you are going to do for the price you both agree upon. If they want more services beyond what’s written down they’re going to know that they’ll have to pay more.
3. Back Office Shared Service’s Third Tip – Don’t Bother Negotiating Unless You’re Sure They’re on the Hook
You’re going to feel awfully cheap if you do actually negotiate to a lower price only to find that the client is still going to shop around other firms before they come to their final decision.
So if you are tempted to lower your price to land a client ask them if price is the only thing holding them back from signing with you right there on the spot.
If the answer is “yes” then it’s up to you whether or not you feel comfortable lowering your price. But remember – price is part of your firm’s positioning, it’s culture. There’s nothing wrong with a firm charging more if they’re positioning themselves as the Rolls Royce of SMSF stress-relief services or the all-high muckety-muck firm for small and medium business start-up aids.
If the answer is “no” then it’s time to prick up your ears because what you’re going to hear next is a list of things that can be fixed up to make your firm more competitive. In other words, you’re getting free USP advice from the people who really know what they want – your clients.