As owners and chief executive officers of our businesses in this industry, we must focus on our value proposition. Let’s face it: everything we sell can be purchased elsewhere. If it’s not the big-box stores, certainly there are thousands of “Chuck in a truck” contractors providing lower bids to our potential clients every day.
If we look at this as an opportunity rather than a problem, we will see our businesses flourish rather than decline. Communicating the value, our unique methods and processes will create more opportunities, wins and profit. We as leaders must focus our energies daily on how to communicate this message. We must perfect it, then teach it, then expect it.
The first thing we need to do, however, is get back to the basics and believe it again. When we began our businesses, we did so knowing we had a better value proposition than our competitors. We believed in our vision. We sacrificed our time, energy, income and effort to follow this vision. We had a burning desire to see it come to life and provide our clients a higher and better product and service. Decide today right here and now with me that the vision is indeed alive and well.
The value is our unique company story, processes and products. We offer a better service than our competition, and we will share the reasons every day. The low-price leader cannot compete with the value, craftsmanship and comfort we provide. Our clients seek and appreciate a true, professional company. Not only will our clients pay more for a better value, but they also will refer us to others because our value is infinitely more valuable than the lowest price could ever be.
We can take a critical but constructive look at our business in many areas. I suggest we start from within and, as leaders, ask ourselves if we are doing everything we can to convey the uniqueness and value we offer our clients and employees. Once we are satisfied with this, we can move into inspecting other parts of the enterprise.
We can improve our message by scheduling training sessions with our employees where we can instruct, role-play and learn more about our employees’ attitudes, perceptions and overall understanding of our value message. Surely, these times will teach us where we lack or have failed to fully impart our vision and value proposition. We need to ensure our message of value is being conveyed on every level to our clients—not sometimes, not more times than not, but every time and at every stage of the process.
With our clients, we should schedule post “job walk” procedures that include candid feedback about how our organization met the promises we made. This procedure should be done in writing and with a company-appointed “Quality Control Manager.” I suggest scheduling this at least three to four days or even a full week after the completion of the project. This time gap allows the client time to enjoy the new improvement and reflect on the experience we provided. Remodeling of any type is intrusive, expensive and usually stressful to even the most mild-mannered homeowners.
The ultimate litmus test in our industry is: Did we do what we said we were going do, when we said we would do it for the price we said we would do it?
We then could take this information, come up with and implement a plan to create an even more amazing customer experience. In many cases we will have to be willing to change to improve our value proposition. I realize that change is sometimes difficult and oftentimes the truth hurts. In fact, there are not too many of us who like change, but we all agree we like improvement in our organizations.
We need to get back to our vision—back to what set us apart to begin with, back to our core basics. We need to resolve our commitment to the vision by bringing our unique message back to our clients, our prospects and our employees. We all need to practice the perfection of our value proposition. We will march forward unwavering from our core belief that people will pay more to get more. What we offer is more; therefore, we will communicate that as experts in our industry.
Chuck and his truck don’t stand a chance in 2012. When Chuck asks us how we do it in such a tough economy, we will share our wisdom that we all have in this industry, “Chuck, value is everything!”