In today’s world, where the last two generations have had a major shift in thinking and attitude, I find that quality is not what it used to be. There was a time when people had so much pride in what they put their name on that they would not only deliver MORE than they promised, but understood that the AFTER-THE-SALE service was the most important. To make sure the client was happy and satisfied was the norm. People came to expect it, those in business knew where the bar was and it set the stage for healthy competition and great service. What does quality mean to you? I’m here to tell you that it may mean something else to your prospect!
However, here’s the rub. While I cannot say with a blanket statement that EVERYONE thinks this way (there are those who understand quality is more profitable), a good portion let the bottom line dictate where quality ends and excuses begin. The reality is that if they tweaked their thinking, the result would be:
In short, a more profitable operation! Let’s take a look at these.
A sale’s profit margin is not solely based on what was earned on the immediate sale; it’s based on the life of a customer. For example, if you retained a customer for three years, how much more would they spend in upsells and new product offerings?
If you’re in a service oriented business, this keeps your pipeline full. If you’re in durable goods, knowing the life-cycle of your product, you know when to go back too these happy customers for future sales. So to coin an old adage: it is cheaper to keep a happy customer than it is to find a new one. After all, if you lose one, it’s not only the advertising and commissions you have to pay to gain a new one; you have to gain two new customers to show any growth!
There are companies that spend tens-of-thousands of dollars to create positive PR. While PR is crucial (it’s more important than advertising) nothing will kill a good PR campaign more than poor quality. You see, when you have a happy customer, he or she will tell 10 people; but when you have an UNHAPPY customer, they will tell 100. And with social media, that may well be 1,000!
Happy customers share their experience with like-minded people and put it on websites like Yelp. They will speak more enthusiastically about your quality than any paid spokesperson will ever do. This feeds retention and loyalty, and leads to repeat sales and referrals – without spending advertising dollars! So would you prefer to throw your money at MORE advertising (which can be hit or miss) or would you rather redirect that money to a more profitable program, customer retention and loyalty?
The final result is the best situation to be in. When you no longer have to compete on price, because people understand that quality has a premium and they are willing to pay it, you now have the ability to charge what your product is REALLY worth and not what the lowest bidder is pushing you to have to accept.
People understand that quality will save them money, down time and headaches in the long run, and would prefer that (not to mention the status of saying they have the best) than to get a cheaper product now. Remember, if you need to have a sale in order to MAKE sales, you’re not competing on quality and value. Plus, when you do a sale, you’ve just set your new artificial normal price. Why? People are trained to think that if you can sell it that low, it must not cost that much; hence I will wait for the sale so I can get the TRUE price and value. A very slippery slope!
Quality is not just the product itself, it is the entire experience. Apple has made a fortune on selling the experience with the product. From the quality of advertising, your website, packaging, customer service, warranty, etc. To think that one weak point does not affect the others is naive and costly.
So ask yourself, “If I were to put all my clients in one room and let them speak with each other about my product and service, would I have to worry about what some may say?” If so, you need to work on your quality. After all, they ARE in the same room – it’s called social media.