One of the biggest obstacles B2B companies face when marketing their product is having that product viewed as a commodity. When your product is viewed as a commodity, you are stuck competing on price alone, and there will always be a company that is willing to sell their product at a lower price than you.
If you are sick and tired of having your product seen as a commodity and competing on low price, here are seven strategies you can use to make your product a preferred premier product that other companies will seek out and be willing to pay a premium price:
1. Be like Amazon and Zappos and provide far better service than your competitors.Educate your current clients and prospects by creating a document that explains the exact service clients will always receive from your company. This may be that your phones are always answered by a live person, you triple check all orders to ensure the order is correct, you answer all email within 30-minutes, you ship all orders via FedEx within 24-hours of an order being placed, and any other special things you do for your clients, especially ones that your competitors do not do.
People love great service and they hate bad service. They hate getting voicemail. They hate being transferred to 5 different people before their problem is solved. They hate sending you an email and then waiting 3 days before they get a reply. Make your customer service 5-star so that working with your company is truly a pleasurable experience so your clients won’t have all the problems and headaches they have working with other companies.
Providing amazing service is how Amazon and Zappos became so popular and how they created such amazing loyalty among their customers. You can do the same thing for your clients. They key is to educate them on the amazing customer experience they will always receive when they do business with you, and then make darn sure you provide that exceptional service.
2. Speed. We live in a society where everybody wants instant gratification. We hate waiting for anything. Think of every way you can be faster at serving your clients. You will immediately give your business a competitive advantage by shipping faster than your competitors. You can also answer phones faster, answer emails faster, answer customer service requests faster, and solve customer problems faster. In today’s fast-paced business world speed provides an instant competitive advantage and businesses will pay a premium price if they can receive your product faster and receive customer service faster.
3. Create high perceived value product packages. What additional products or services do your clients want that you can include with your product that will make their life easier? An added service? Added training? The information they need? Additional products? Think how you can turn your single “commodity” product into a product and service package, such as a Bronze Package, an upgraded Silver Package, or a premier Gold Package. You will be amazed at just how many businesses will want your Silver and Gold premiere packages and they will be more than willing to pay a premium price for it.
4. Create a super premium “Rolls Royce” version of your product. In any B2B marketplace, there are businesses that will only buy the best of the best. Within your product line, you should have at least one version of your product that is the super premium version that is priced higher than your competitors. To do this, you need your marketing and advertising to present your product as the best of the best. Think of how Rolex advertises their watches compared to how Timex advertises theirs, how Rolls Royce advertises their cars compared to how General Motors advertises Chevys, how Apple advertises their computers compared to Acer, and how Fiji markets their bottled water compared to the low price “commodity” bottled water companies. If Fiji can create a premier bottled water within the highly commoditized bottled water market, you can certainly create a premier product in your marketplace. Just be creative like Fiji water.
5. Provide a longer product warranty and/or a better money back satisfaction guarantee. If your competitors offer a 60-day product replacement warranty, you should offer at least a 90-day product replacement warranty. If your competitors do not offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee, you should offer one. You need to prove to your target market why buying from you is a much smarter and financially safer option than buying from your competitors. With all things being equal, if company A offers a 60-day product replacement warranty and company B offers a 180-day product replacement warranty, it is easy to make the decision to buy from company B, even if their pricing is a bit more. You have more financial protection if you purchase from company B than company A. Whenever you can reduce the perceived risk of doing business with your company, you make it far easier for a buyer to say “yes” to buying from you instead of “no.”
6. Use customer testimonials and case studies. The majority of businesses want to reduce financial risk whenever they can. A great way to prove that buying your product is financially safer and a wiser investment than buying from your competitors is with customer testimonials and case studies. Businesses respect and believe the opinions of other businesses who have purchased your product far more than they will believe your sales reps and your advertising. Therefore, interview your past and current clients to create testimonials and build case studies of exactly how your product solved their business problem and helped their business become more profitable. When creating testimonials and case studies, always use the full name of the person, their job title, and the company they work for. Reading a testimonial by Bob Marks, CEO of Marks Global Industries is far more believable than reading a testimonial by a person named “B. Marks” who did not provide their job title or the name of the company they work for.
7. Offer financing to make your product easier to buy. Whenever you can make your product easier to buy by offering financing, you are going to encourage more businesses to buy from you. If a company has the choice to buy 100,000 widgets from you or 100,000 widgets from one of your competitors, and you offer a 3-month payment plan while your competitor requires the full amount to be paid upfront, you are going to win the client’s business more often than your competitor will, even if you charge a higher price, because you are helping a company improve their cash flow through financing.
In summary, if your product is seen as a commodity and you are competing on low price, it is because you have chosen to market your product a commodity. There are endless ways to make your product stand out and be special so you have new clients come to you instead of you chasing to get them. If Fiji can make a successful premier bottled water and be very profitable in the heavily commoditized bottled water marketplace, you certainly can create a premier product in your marketplace. All you need to do is be creative.