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SHAPING STRATEGY 8 Ways to Drive Quotes to Competitors MARK MEHLING, MANAGEMENT ADVISOR


you scream “I am a commodity!” When prospective customers cannot tell you from competitors, they as- sume price is the only equation vari- able—and competitors unfairly win. Instead, separate your business by emphasizing other attributes buy- ers want (quality, delivery, service, price, at minumum) to build value. If water can be un-commoditized (ever buy bottled H2O?), so can you. How to get started? Look at what everyone else does and be different!


A 1


97% of metalcaster websites were not client oriented. Visiting a web- site should be the first step in a life- long relationship. The initial website visit is like a first date, searching for compatibility. How well does it go? Buyers only see bragging, statistics, claims and pictures of castings. When the same useless stats are on every website (tons poured, acreage, date started, blah blah), you’re just like all the rest. Instead, do every- thing to get THEM to talk to YOU. Promote interaction by offering information packages, case studies, white papers, lead-time emails, use- ful video or client-oriented metrics.


2 3


Not “educating” buyers. You melt metal every day. Buyers don’t. Most don’t know the dif-


ference between pouring water and pouring molten metal. Few grasp how a metalcasting facility works, the challenges, limitations and the lan- guage. Your education of them should start with an onboarding system and finish with a thank you system. In between are many opportunities to


56 | MODERN CASTING May 2015


A “me” focused website. In a random study for the May 2014 Shaping Strategy article,


re you unknowingly driving away buyers? Blindly deliv- ering them to competitors?


You might be doing it inadvertently by making one or more of these fatal mistakes.


Not differentiating the met- alcasting facility. Without effective points of separation,


your 18-year-old son and your spouse exactly the same way. Everyone has different needs, desires and commu- nication skills. Each needs different assurances. Same with buyers. Is every buyer the same? Every casting the same? Every company that orders the same? You need a system that accounts for these differences. Start- ing with your quote system, ensure communications consider the specific fears, concerns, background, knowl- edge and experience level as they relate to metalcasting. Combined with #3, this is a crucial step. A laser targeted quote system will produce much higher quote acceptance rates.


4


Some metalcasters still sit, patiently waiting for the phone to ring, while competitors, especially from over- seas, are aggressively wooing the best customers away. If you want the leftovers—the low margin, only-buy- on-price, non-loyal customers—wait for the fax to ring with a quote. Smart metalcasters methodically seek out the clients they want and work hard to get and keep their business.


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accepting quotes with low opera- tional efficiency, and cutting costs to the detriment of the business. The truth: quotes are lost because purchasers don’t see the value you offered. Something in the quality, delivery, service or price areas of the quote was more persuasively stated by the winner. Buyers are human, and like you, choose value over price more than 80% of the time. If you have price-only buyers, go after the other 80% and then prove your value.


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Believing the “buyers only buy on price” myth. This leads to shaved margins,


Waiting for them to come to you. Tat’s what many bankrupt metalcasters in the U.S. did.


help buyers understand your business and its dedication to their needs.


Using a single method for every quote. Imagine talking to your 5-year-old daughter,


Spending little to get new customers. Spending 1% to get a new client with a lifetime value of $500,000 seems like a smart invest- ment, doesn’t it? Yet, most metalcasters won’t spend that to get a high qual- ity customer. So competitors swoop in, spend that money, establish their company’s value, cement their position and establish long-term relationships earning stability and market leader- ship. And they paid a pittance for all that. Like the old game of Chutes ‘n Ladders, you end up back at #6. Te real winner’s attitude is “How much can I pay to get the best clients with the best margins?” What is long-term security and stability worth?


7


Customers have no relationship with the business. Tink fast-food. Does anyone there ask your name? Commu- nicate with you outside the drive-up? Nope. To them you are a customer. Tey have no idea if you will ever come back. Your lawyer, on the other hand, has established a life-long rela- tionship of trust and authority. Tat’s why you’re a client, not a customer. You can easily establish this same life- long relationship with buyers. Con- verting customers to clients increases loyalty, makes price more elastic and earns referrals. You can ignore these points eas-


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ily. Many metalcasters have ignored them in the past. Tey didn’t just drive customers away, they chauffeured their customers to a competitor’s door. Instead, correct any of these flaws one at a time and reap the rewards of more quotes with higher margins from bet- ter clients.


Treating those who pay your bills like customers. “Clients” vs. “customers” is not semantics.


http://bit.ly/May2015SS


To hear additional insight from the author, scan the QR code. For more information, contact the author at Mark@TeFoundryMarketer.com.


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