Pass Along Value and Not Costs…

It’s important to keep in mind that, during a recession, customers do not go away. They simply just become more conservative. Their decision to purchase is more critical and well thought out. Keeping your existing customers by renovating your perceived value to the customer during this time is probably one of the most proactive things you can do. What does this mean? If your product or service is something that could easily be reduced, eliminated or replaced with a competitive offering, it’s time to rethink the value you’re providing to your customer. A $5 gourmet coffee that consumers indulge in on a regular basis is a little harder to swallow (or sip) when times are difficult. Now the $5, imore conservativei gourmet coffee decision to purchase could be proactively offset during this period by the provider with an increase in perceived value of that product/service/experience. That can come in the form of improved service, value-added extras, improved/enhanced product offerings, etc.

My landscaper just raised his rates 14% due to increased gas prices. Now, I appreciate the work my landscaper does and they have been servicing me and my lawn for over two years. I’m a loyal and on-time paying customer and I understand gas prices have increased dramatically for not only my landscaper, but everyone who drives. However, it’s no surprise that, in this time of critical and more thoughtful decision making, passing on costs for this service has got me thinking about the competitive choices available. I would probably not have thought about the competition otherwise. Those choices are plentiful during this time. Remember, if you’re not at least maintaining or increasing your sales/marketing efforts to gain market share during this time, your shark-like competitors most likely are. So, converse to adding value in an effort to maintain and/or increase market share — prepare to experience decreased market share and revenues if you plan to offset your increasing costs by passing that along to your customers.

The Best Offense is a Good Defense (AND a Good Offense)

Embrace these challenging times by providing more value to your customers. Let them know you appreciate them and their business. Proactively provide value added products and services when applicable. Address the needs of new customers with precision targeted solutions. Make sure all (yes, all) of your customers are overly satisfied and, be relentless! Did I fail to mention — it’s urgent! Your business depends on how well you develop, execute and track a ismart marketing plan,i especially during this period.

Do you have what it takes to ride this wave like the seasoned surf-marketer you are and ihang ten? Prove it, and your business (and sales) will thank you for it.

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