When You Can’t Get “No Respect,”
Improve Your Marketing
Why aren't more prospects calling you for information? Why
customers willing to sign extended service contracts? Why aren't your
current clients interested in increasing your relationship or buying more
from you? Why do customers haggle over price so much? Those are common
questions... and there may be a single answer you've overlooked. Maybe
your prospects and
customers don’t respect you enough.
If you win their respect, the business process becomes smoother.
Respect can facilitate easier sales processes, larger purchases, more frequent
transactions, less intense negotiations, and longer, more profitable
relationships. In addition, respect leads to more customer referrals, recognition as
a leading authority with great expertise, and an emotional investment in
your brand by your customers.
Make sure your marketing is building respect before and after the first
sale. Marketing is largely about communicating with and educating your
prospects, customers, and clients in order to influence them to take
The action you want to influence is, obviously, a purchase.
Market to prospects so that they explicitly understand your product is the
to their problems. Most companies understand the importance of this level
of marketing. The next level is less obvious and, therefore, not as widely
want to develop an almost magical relationship where customers
pay you whatever you charge because they do respect what you do for them.
If customers don’t respect what your product or services does, or its
value, they simply won't buy it.
Why Prospects Or Customers Don’t Respect You
1. They don’t immediately understand the value of what you do.
You may not be clearly communicating the unique benefits or advantages of your
product in your advertising and marketing communications. Businesses often
fall into the trap of focusing on
what their company does, rather than what the client experiences after
installing the product.
2. The product you're selling solves a problem your customers don't
Some clients aren’t concerned about the problem your product solves -- or
the problem may not
even be on their radar screen. For example, if customers aren’t fully utilizing the
Internet for basic surfing, they aren’t worried about data switching, bandwidth hardware,
or Web callback buttons. You haven't provided them with a stimulating reason to
act. If the problem you aim to fix isn't causing them much discomfort,
then the customer isn't
making your sales presentation a priority in their day.
3. They have their own ideas based on previous experience.
Prospects may be familiar with cheaper solutions, maybe of
lesser quality than yours. If prospects have been contacted by competitors prior to
hearing from you,
they may have preconceived notions (or even incorrect information) about
what your product can or can't do. If
someone else has promised to help them for less, why wouldn’t they
believe them? In this situation, winning a prospect's respect is paramount to getting
4. Customers don’t recognize the effort involved in building your
If I tell you my software cost $20,000, you just have a price in
of you. If I explain that it took more than fifty programmers working over
years to develop my software -- and that you would have to invest over $3
million to replicate it yourself -- then you begin to respect the software
solution and my pricing.
5. Customers forget how bad it used to be.
Once customers have a product or use a service for a certain amount
time, they begin to take it for granted and forget what pain they suffered
in the past. Even worse, new employees never knew how terrible it ever was,
say, to route international VoIP calls through your server network. This
leads to a lack of respect. This is evident when you have to haggle over
software upgrades, service contracts, or software support.
Earn The Respect You Deserve
Now that I have mentioned a few of the reasons for a lack of respect,
look at what you can do to win some respect and decrease that loss of
gratitude amongst your current customers:
1. Respect yourself.
Many companies underestimate their accomplishments in overcoming
and operational problems. Remember where your business was when it first
started and how far you’ve come. Recognize all that you have had to
endure just to get to a prototype. Communicate this successful struggle to your
prospects and customers.
2. Quantify what was involved in producing your product or service.
Make a list of every detail required to create your product or deliver your service
so customers know exactly what
involved. How much did you invest in research and development? How many people
did you employ at what
level of education? How many years of combined experience did they have? How much money
and emotion was invested in the product that was never passed on to the customer? How
did it cost just for the testing phase, and who was involved? What would it
cost customers to duplicate your process?
3. Commit to a fair price.
Sometimes, in the desire to make a sale we accept a lower valuation of our
the prospect. You must commit to and remain confident in your pricing, as
as it is fair, and be willing to walk away from the table. Be ready to
your clients how much you’re saving them in money and headaches. Make
comparisons. A simplistic example would be, “What did you pay for a
computer with 100 MB memory 15 years ago versus what you pay for 30 GB
today?” Some negotiation is always acceptable and expected, but you’re
entitled to a fair profit.
4. Don’t stop communicating with, educating, and reminding your
customers about your company and the industry you're in.
You must continually educate prospects and customers about the great value of your products
services, and the number of problems it solves for them. Remind them more often
exactly what you continue to do for them. Gently evoke memories of what
their business was like in the past. Remember telex machines? Remember the
size of the first computers and cellular phones? Look how small CompactPCI cards
5. Seek more recognition in your industry.
Apply for awards from various industry associations, or even local trade
boards or commerce departments. Make sure you utilize an effective public
relations campaign and maintain regular contact with the industry press. We tend to
respect people and companies that are publicly recognized by others for
their innovation or leadership. Be proud of it. Then, tell your
customers and prospects about your accomplishments to score more points on
the respect scale.
When you prove that you have earned their respect, then the
you build with prospects and customers will be stronger. They will last longer and
times better if something does go wrong. It is easy to lose respect for a company or a service. As marketers, we
have to work against that and constantly build respect back up. Make sure you
every communication to inspire respect. Get your prospects' and customers'
focus where you want it.
In parting, think, for example, about the prevalent disrespect for the airline industry. When
the last time you complained? Maybe you were delayed an hour. All I say
is, “Wonder how long it took to get 100 people from New York to Dallas
stage coach?” Now, the airline has my respect again.
Martin Wales is the eFounder and Chief Catcher at Customer
He welcomes your e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He is a technology-marketing specialist, speaker, and facilitator focused
on maximum results with minimal risk using your existing resources.