Members Harvey Klein (Red the Uniform Tailor) and Stuart Fligel (Fligel’s Image Apparel) have over 80 years of combined expertise in the uniform program business. Attendees at Leadership16 had a front row seat as Harvey and Stuart shared their strategies for increasing profitability by increasing the value they offer to their clients. Here are a few of the tips they mentioned in their presentation.
Know your products and what value you offer.
Make the time to talk to all you vendors. Find out the specific benefits of their products. Ask to see samples. Ask questions about materials and construction. Armed with this knowledge, it will be much easier to match products from valued supplier partners to the needs of your clients.
Listen to the customer.
Don’t arrive with preconceived notions about a prospect’s needs or desires. Harvey remarked that he often shows up at client meetings with only a notepad in hand. Listen and ask questions to get more clarity about a client’s problem.
What the customer asks for may not be what the customer needs.
Often a customer will ask for a specific brand or product. This is your opportunity to educate them. Harvey gave the example of offering a pair of tactical pants that was not the requested brand. While the product offered was 10% higher in cost, the pants would last twice as long in the field—a dramatic cost savings for the client. Harvey tells his clients, “The important thing to remember is not how much it costs you to buy, but how much it costs you to wear.”
Offer a higher perceived value.
A Ralph Lauren dress shirt may be identical in construction to the JC Penney brand, but the designer shirt is sold at twice the price due to the perception of higher value. You can offer higher perceived value to your clients with luxury brands or even custom designed products. Harvey remarked, “I often determine how much I am going to charge for a custom designed product based on how much the CEO loves it.”
Sell up the chain of command.
Stuart recalled specific instances when a sale was lost only because the person at the top was not as familiar with Stuart’s services compared to the buying manager Stuart dealt with on a regular basis. Ask the buying manager to introduce you to their boss and their boss’ boss. Getting to know these decision makers can insure that you will be considered and consulted when opportunities arise.
Educate your clients.
“I did not know you offered that” is not a phrase you ever want to hear from your clients. Especially after they have just made a purchase from your competition. Stuart says, “If a customer is not aware of your capabilities and services, the fault is not theirs. The job of informing clients falls squarely on you.”
One easy way to “Sell Up” is to bring a “Good, Better and Best” selection for your client to choose from. While the items in the “Best” category may be out of the budget range, it offers you an opportunity to discuss the benefit to the client, such as better quality and higher perceived value. Even if they choose the basic or mid-range option, you will be perceived as a knowledgeable consultant that is looking out for their interests.
By adopting these strategies in your business, you will be well on your way to transform yourself from a “me-too” commodity to a valued consultant.
You can see the entire presentation and the question/answer session that followed in the Video Library of the Member Web Site