A client is changing his business model, from selling real estate to teaching about it. He was stuck though, on one important topic: price.
"I just don't know what I should be charging for training people in this industry," he said. "I know that I am knowledgeable about what goes on in this industry, but I don't know how to price my services. It is a bad economy and I'm not sure I should charge very much starting out, but I know the information is valuable…and I need to earn a living…”
He had many questions coupled with doubts about his own self-worth. He viewed marketing as a necessary evil, not something he really understood. His idea of marketing was churning out press releases and pretty brochures.
Marketing is more than that; it is a perspective. Even in the smallest company, including sole proprietors, marketing is a critical skill, a way of thinking that needs to be learned. It starts with becoming customer-focused. But how do you do this?
My client had taught several workshops at investment clubs in the area, both free and for a minimal fee. I told him the best way to find out what he should charge would be to ask those who have already heard him speak. At first he was hesitant, and then agreed. We invited about eight people to meet together and I facilitated a meeting to ask basic questions about the workshops: what did people like? What did they not like? How was he as a speaker? What did the information do for them? Did it make them successful?
My client learned several things that shocked him out of shoes: 1) People were interested in helping him. 2) People enjoyed his workshops and 3) People valued what he had to say.
People were excited to talk about the workshops and seminars he had taught, and were excited that he would be teaching more classes. They agreed they would pay a lot more money than the minimal fee he planned to charge because they learned a lot. They also valued his honesty and integrity because he gave them valuable information that was making them successful. In fact, the group suggested a few prices that were much higher than he expected. The also wanted to continue to meet once a quarter to continue talking about what he could do to improve and to help him.
He suddenly felt empowered and confident about his new business model. He felt like he had new partners in his business; those in the group felt encouraged and respected. They wanted to continue to do business with him, and refer others because they felt valued.
No matter how small a business is, when you create a culture that involves customers in problem solving, your customer thinks like a marketer, and stimulates innovation to solve more of their own needs.
Learn more in Real-Time Marketing for Business Growth about how to engage customers to improve your culture.