Perhaps the greatest concern of dealers is how to price products and services. How many times have we heard this?: “Well I’d buy it if it were in my price range.” The result is a lowered price to close the sale. But a unique selling proposition, or USP, among other things, could help the sales team get the right price.
Basically, we know dropping price can create more problems than it solves. Price reductions decrease net profit, increase customer demands for even lower prices and require more sales to make up for the lost revenue. In the world of setting prices, author John Jantsch (“Duct Tape Marketing”) reminds us: “There will always be someone willing to go out of business faster than you!”
Sales teams in dealerships must understand price is not a benefit. Good “selling” should not be determined on the cost of the boat. Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, a marketing systems developer, asserts the art of selling has nothing to do with price and everything to do with value and benefits for the customer. “By the time your prospect finds out about the price, they should be determined to buy no matter what the cost,” he suggests. “Help them see how great their life will be with your product and you’ve got a customer.”
Please, don’t get me wrong – I’m not ignoring the pressure on price all dealers face these days. Aside from any competitive pressure from down the street, we’re all affected by the current rage of discounting. One school of thought is that outfits like Groupon are actually ruining retail pricing of virtually everything. Consumers are being convinced: “We don’t pay retail!” But I prefer another school, the one that says: We should remember customers will pay retail if they are first convinced that buying a given product, from a reputable dealer, will lead them directly to the enjoyment they want.
One thing that can create a helpful focus is a good USP. It’s not just for the big boys like Walmart or Home Depot. Every business can benefit from the right USP. So how does a boat dealer identify a good USP? Small business expert Susan L. Reid, consultant and author (“Discovering Your Inner Samurai”), offers 5 steps any business person can do to find the right USP. It takes a little research and brainstorming:
• Write down the main features and benefits that are unique to your product. Do a Google search and compare your features and benefits with your direct competitors. Identify the benefit(s) that set you apart.
• Put on your customer’s hat and identify what emotional need(s) is being satisfied by your product or service. Add it to your list.
• Identify aspects of your product or dealership that your competitors cannot imitate. Anything that can’t be copied gets a big star!
• Brainstorm short, clear phrases that could communicate your unique position based on words and ideas you listed in steps 1-3. Reject any that wouldn’t be easy to communicate or understand.
• Finally, and very important, answer every customer’s primary question: “What’s in it for me?” Make it to the point and state it as a benefit to the customer. For example: Target – “Expect more, Pay Less”; Domino’s – “You get fresh, hot pizza to your door in 30 minutes or less … or it’s free”; MarineMax: “Maximizing your enjoyment on the water”; FedEx – “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”; Bayliner: “Where Fun Lives”; or Russo Marine: “New England’s leading powerboat dealer.”
A USP can help attract more customers and help get better margins – well worth some time brainstorming.