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Being a Professional

Making yourself different from the competition

When a person is employed, they continue to work at the option of the employer.  So long as there is a need for the type of work done, and the employee meets or exceeds the expectations of the employer; the employee is likely to have a job.

As a dealer, you too have an employer.  The employer is giving consideration to retaining you as an employee every time they walk through your door, call you on the telephone or radio, or perhaps listen to your presentation.  That employer is often referred to as a customer.

Every time that you and the customer interact, the customer is performing a calculation on your business.  They may do so unknowingly, but never the less, they go through the steps.

The calculation is to consider the price you are charging with the addition of three factors.  Those three additional factors are the knowledge that you share with the customer, the level of service that you provide, and the quality of the product.

Added together, these four factors: price, knowledge, service and quality equal the value of the experience.  As the customer examines the value of doing business with you, they are asking themselves a question: "Is it worth it?"

It is fairly easy to get the customer to answer yes the first time they experience you, but can you get the customer to continue to do business with you?  This is where we separate the advertisers from the promoters.   Any business can get a customer to do business with them one time, but the master merchant is the one that can earn the business of the customer a second time.  And, any business can advertise but it takes a pro to promote.

The size and location of your shop does not matter when we are discussing the technique of promoting. The showroom dealer probably has one of the best opportunities to create and retain as the customer has probably entered the showroom from a point of want as compared to need.  During their shopping with other dealerships, he or she has undoubtedly experienced sales people that have made an effort to demonstrate their knowledge.

Customers are not so much impressed by the knowledge of the sales person as they are impressed by the sales person's ability to answer questions and share information at a level that is comfortable to the customer.  Throw in some eagerness to allow the customer to test operate the equipment and you are on your way to developing a relationship.

The intercoastal fueling station may experience a customer that makes their first stop due to need.  But, if they are greeted by a staff member, as compared to having to search for someone, the fueling station may be on the road to gaining a repeat customer.  Then, imagine the feeling of the customer when the fueling attendant opens a cooler and hands the boat owner a cold soft drink.  Do you think the boat owner will want to return?  Probably so.

The high and dry boat yard is our opportunity to explore quality.  Showing the customer the facilities, and equipment used to store their boat, invites the customer to develop a level of confidence in the dealership.  Perhaps having a referral list of long term satisfied customers that the customer can review and contact will demonstrate that the boat yard takes care of their customers.

Notice that with each of our examples from the marine industry, they have made a concerted effort to raise the equation components.  When the quality, knowledge, and service are increased, there is a space which allows you to increase price.  Your customer will understand that your price, which can be higher than your competition is justified.

Likewise, when they do business with a company based solely on price, they will understand that they may receive a product or service of lesser quality.  They know they will definitely receive less service, and will leave with less knowledge about their purchase.

The other part of this business equation is to note that most businesses that rely on price have to spend a sizeable amount of dollars to advertise.  And while their advertising may suggest service, quality, and knowledge, it comes with a mention of their claim to lower prices.

Marine businesses that fulfill the value equation and promote their business frequently find that their best advertising comes through referral customers.  Their repeat customers have done the math, and found that the value is definitely there.  And their answer to the question of, "Is it worth is?" is a resounding "Yes".

Anyone can advertise, but it takes a pro to promote.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179