By Jennifer Brownell, Managing Director, Q4B
“Value is not what you and your business says it is. Value is what your customers say it is.” – John Jantsch
Companies exist to make a profit. If costs increase companies will look to raising their prices or generating more sales or both. In the short run, raising prices on your products or services would increase your profits. But very few if any businesses are in it for the short run. Generating more sales, landing more customers and if necessary gradually increasing your prices makes much more sense. The question is how do you do it?
The most common responses to this question are spending more on advertising/marketing, hiring more sales people, opening new territories, merging with or acquiring similar businesses, raising sales quotas on existing sales force, implementing better CRM systems, adding new features to existing products/services and/or attending more trade shows.
The better response would be that you create more value. That along with your product or service you and your business do the things that make your brand worth more in the market, making your business the one that people talk about the most.
In a recent blog post, John Jantsch, author of The Referral Engine and Duct Tape Marketing, suggests that there are five things that every business should do to create more value.
• Measure – You need to first understand what it is about your business that your current customers value. Most companies don’t have a clue as to what their value is. Ask your customers, either at the time of product sale or during or after you have delivered your services to the customer. Solicit feedback.
Over the years Q4B’s customers have consistently told us that they most valued our quick response to job requirements and how we managed the candidate relationship for them.
• Lead – Offer your customers advice, suggestions, market information and intelligence that only you have. Don’t assume that your customers know it all. They don’t. The ultimate value that you could offer your customer is to refer them to someone else if you feel that you and your business can’t satisfy their needs.
This is something that every good recruiter should do. We may not be experts in the specific fields that we represent but we are experts in identifying the best talent for our clients and in turn the best opportunities for our candidates. At Q4B we lead our customers through every engagement.
• Teach – If there are aspects of your business that require a certain amount of training then offer that training as part of your product or service. If customers buy your product or service and don’t or can’t take advantage of its capabilities they will never see its value and will never buy again.
At Q4B, we are always looking for ways to help our customers by either Doing the recruiting work for them (RPO), Helping their internal recruiters fill positions (Staff Augmentation/Direct Hire) and Teaching their internal recruiters to recruit better and more efficiently (RBOD/SBOD).
• Inspire – What does your company’s marketing material say about your business? Does it cause customers to flock to your web site, to call or email requesting more information, to ask for a proposal, to schedule a sales call? Probably not. In order to create value your marketing material, from blog to social media to print to web should inspire those who view it to do something. There should be a call to action.
We are in the beginning stages of revamping our marketing plan which includes our web presence, blog and social media channels. Our goal is to create a message for all of our customers (companies and candidates) that will be truly inspiring.
• Listen – Listening has become a lost art. There are just too many distractions out there. Who listens anymore? Well you need to because your customers are talking. They are talking to each other about you, your company, your products and services. And it is very easy for them to talk to each other and to you, through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other social media channels. You need to be in on those conversations and even start some while you at it.
As part of our revamped marketing strategy, we plan to be more conversant with our customers. Our LinkedIn Group, FOQ – Friends of Q4B, our Twitter presence Q4B_RPO and our Facebook and Google+ pages are just beginning to build a following. More is required. We are listening.
So, there are the five things that companies can do to create value. Some as you can see, we have been offering some we need to increase our efforts, but all are important enough to us as we constantly look for ways to add value for our customers.
We are not in this business for the short run and we love being talked about. Don’t you?