When Just Professionals opened its doors in the middle of a recession, we knew that acquiring business in a already saturated market would be tough. Through the course of several discussions, sleepless nights and brainstorming sessions we were able to not only come out of the gates swinging, but we were able to do so without devaluing our product.
In the web development world, your portfolio is everything. In an industry where templates and cookie cutter, off the shelf solutions dominate, we thought that being a custom design shop would set us apart. The advantages of being completely custom meant our designs would shine and we would be able to market our product with buzz words like “custom”, “unique”, and “100% original.” Their were disadvantages, however, that included higher labor costs for us and higher prices for our customers when compared to our inferior competition.
The easiest route would have been to completely bash our supposed competitors to prospective clients, deploring their use of mass produced designs at basement prices, which could have been successful in some bids. I have never been a fan of sales people who bash their competitors in an attempt to make their own company look better. It actually puts me off in my personal purchases when that occurs. Instead, we decided to diplomatically approach the competing bids as low cost alternatives that may serve the client’s purpose. But our main selling point has always been this: In order for a company to to truly portray the uniqueness and high end service you provide, your internet assets have to match that level of quality in today’s business world.
Convincing your clients that unique, custom-tailored products and premium expertise are better for their company will never be the issue. Convincing them that they should pay a premium for those qualities will. So how do you compete in your industry with lower priced, sub par alternatives in a bottom line price driven marketplace? By Holding your ground, maybe even raising your prices.
It’s easy to do. You lose a job or two to a lower priced company and sell the farm on your next job to get the deal. Meanwhile, your costs of labor eat away any profit you would have made and the time you could have spent on a fair priced deal is now lost. That and you have just conveyed to this client that despite all the adjectives you used in your sales pitch to describe your company, that separation of expertise and premium is negotiable and really not worth the price you originally requested.
Over time we learned and ate our fair share of bad deals in the process. But not any more. Now, we hold steady on our original bid for a project. If we lose a deal because of this, we are comfortable in the fact that we didn’t devalue our work, or our company. In fact, we gross an average of 30% more revenue per project than we did just a couple years ago. Financially, we have increased sales year to year, and do almost 30% less work. Just 18 -24 months ago we averaged 8-12 web projects a month. Now we average just over 4 per month.
Initially, our approach was not the most comfortable. As the principal of Just Professionals, I always want revenues to come from every angle. It has taken discipline and practice to be able to stand by the value in our product. Now I enjoy the process, basking in the shock by the people I meet with in my unwillingness to come down off of our price points. That isn’t to say I am rude or short about it, but I simply reinforce again the quality of our work, and the benefit they will receive from that quality. This process has created a higher value for our service, has nurtured the referral business we get, and has produced some valuable clients.
Thanks for reading.
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