Don’t Be a Walmart: A New Perspective on Pricing and Value for Small Business Owners written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing
Do you want to be a Walmart? No, I’m not talking about turning your small venture into a multinational retail corporation overnight. I’m referring to the way you position your business in terms of pricing and the pitfalls that come with competing on price alone.
While Walmart’s low-price leadership model works for them, it is – in my opinion – not the best approach for most small businesses. I’ve seen many businesses fall into the trap of competing on price, sometimes without even realizing it. The real trouble starts when you underprice your services, resulting in a cascading effect on your overall business growth. If your margins are too thin you won’t ever be able to scale effectively.
The Problem with Price Competition
For small businesses, the allure of being the low-price leader in their market can be strong. But herein lies the trap. By focusing on price as your primary competitive advantage, you’re stepping into a cycle of lower profits and higher stress. When you continuously undercut your prices to keep up with competitors, you inadvertently become a low-profit leader.
However, the cost of winning the price game is high. You end up with demanding clients who expect more for less. This unhealthy cycle doesn’t just eat into your profits but can also stall your business’s growth and innovation.
Recognizing the Trap of Price Competition
So, how do you know if you’re stuck in the price competition loop? Here are a few telltale signs:
- You’re attracting clients who are very demanding, hard to please, and always looking for discounts.
- Despite working more your profit margins are still minimal.
- The continuous pressure to keep prices low stymies innovation and restricts the time and resources needed for growth and improvement.
Another sign is that you’re unable to articulate what differentiates you from your competitors beyond price. If the only answer to the question, “Why should a client choose you?” is “Because we’re cheaper,” then you’re caught in the trap of price competition.
4 Tips to Escape the Price Competition Trap
Escaping the price competition trap is not a pipe dream. It requires a shift in mindset and a renewed focus on the unique value your business brings. Here are some strategies to break free from the price competition cycle:
Value over Price
Rather than competing on price, you should compete on value. Aim to enhance customer experiences and provide exceptional service that your clients won’t find elsewhere.
Identify what makes you stand out to your most loyal customers and the specific issues you’re resolving for them, aside from price.
For instance, if you’re known for responding to new client inquiries promptly, consider creating a promise to respond in under 5 minutes.
Similarly, if you own a landscaping or gardening business and your customers frequently express appreciation for your expert recommendations on which plants best suit their home or climate, you should capitalize on that. Build a program centered around providing this in-depth industry knowledge.
This approach enhances your value proposition by going beyond mere product selling, transforming it into delivering personalized solutions instead.
Don’t be afraid to charge a premium for the exceptional value you offer. This strategy is not about being more expensive for the sake of it, but rather pricing your products or services at a premium to reflect the exceptional value you provide. Convey to your clients that your higher prices are a direct reflection of the quality and benefits they’ll receive.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Clearly articulate what sets your business apart from the rest. Your USP isn’t that you’re cheaper; it’s the unique elements that make your product or service superior.
This goes back to competing on value over price. Stop simply trying to be better than the competition and start figuring out how you can be better and different than your competition.
Identifying your ideal clients is another key strategy for escaping the price competition trap. Your ideal clients are those who appreciate the value you provide and are willing to pay a premium for it. They understand that cost is not the only factor to consider when purchasing a product or service and value quality, service, and the unique benefits that only your business can provide.
Focus your marketing and sales efforts on attracting and retaining these clients. Understand their needs, preferences, and pain points, and strive to exceed their expectations at every turn.
Discover the gaps in your marketing
If you’re serious about taking your business to the next level, a marketing gap analysis is an absolute must-have! It’s like a secret weapon that helps you identify where your marketing strategy is falling short and where you can improve.
By understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you can make smarter decisions, beat the competition, and save valuable time and resources. It’s all about boosting your marketing game, staying fresh in a rapidly changing market, and achieving your goals with precision.
The Power of a Marketing Strategy
The right marketing strategy is your ticket to escape the price competition trap. A compelling message of difference, a well-packaged offering, and an understanding of your ideal client’s needs can provide the foundation for a profitable pricing strategy.
Remember, the key is not to be cheaper but to communicate your value better. Your competitors might not necessarily be better than you, but they may be better at marketing their value. And clients are willing to pay more for perceived value.
A marketing strategy that emphasizes your business’s unique value can help you attract your dream clients willing to pay premium prices for the quality service they receive. With this approach, you can effectively compete on value, not price.
In the race to compete on price, businesses often find themselves in a maze with no exit. A narrow focus on pricing overshadows the true value of the product or service, leading to a vicious cycle of thin margins, high-stress clients, and stifled growth.
By refocusing on the value you provide and implementing a strategic marketing approach, you can steer clear of these pitfalls. Remember, the clients you attract should be those who are willing to pay for the exceptional services they receive.