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How Value Trumps Relationships (When it comes to Winning New Clients)
We all know that relationships are vital when clients come to choose a supplier to work with. That's why it makes sense to make building relationships a core part of your marketing.
But if you're trying to win a new client who already has an existing supplier they may have been working with for years, then unless that supplier messes up or is basically “asleep at the wheel”, you'll find it incredibly difficult to “out-relationship” them.
Instead, you're better off focusing on trying to “out-value” them. I explain why and how in this 5 minute marketing tip video…
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Hi there. Welcome to another 5 minute marketing tip. This one is about how value trumps relationships, particularly when you're trying to win a new client.
We all know how important relationships are when clients are looking to hire someone, but if you are trying to win a new client and they have an existing supplier … and I get asked an awful lot of questions about how do I break into a client when they've already got a good existing supplier… the problem is you can never out-relationship the existing supplier who has worked with that client for a year, two years, five years, maybe even more. But what you can do is out-value them. I'll show you how, after the break.
Hi, welcome back. When clients are looking to hire people to work for them, they're looking for two factors, by and large. One is value; can this person do the job I need them to do and how great a job will they do? The second is relationship; can I work with this person? Will we get on well? Will the relationship gel enough so that the value will come through. Obviously you need a minimum on both levels, but then after that it's kind of client preference as to how much relationship they care about, how much value they care about, but most clients care about both factors.
If you are trying to break into a client where they have an existing relationship with someone that's usually quite strong, unless they mess it up, obviously. If they mess it up it's going to be down here, but usually the relationship is pretty strong. So it's going to be very, very difficult for you to build up your relationship with a client in a short space of time so that you've got a better relationship than the existing supplier. What you usually can do though, if you are smart and you work hard, is build value up so you're perceived as being higher value than the existing supplier.
For example, if I wanted to win a really high value client close to me and I was competing against a typical marketing consultancy that's been working with our client for a couple of years, I'm not going to invest my time in out-schmoozing them and trying to build a much stronger relationship. I'm going to build enough of a relationship so that client will be prepared to work with me, but I'm going to focus my efforts on out-valuing the existing supplier. I want to give that potential client so much useful information, so much value, so much insight before they ever get to work with me that they turn to their existing supplier and say, “How come we're getting so much value from this person? We're not getting it from you and we're not even working with that person yet.” That puts them in a very difficult position, it puts me in a really strong position.
How can you add value? Often it comes down to giving value in advance in your content marketing, but I don't mean just writing the typical blog post that just regurgitates the same old points about “work smarter, not harder” or “leadership is all about having a vision”, all the usual stuff you've heard in a hundred other places. It has to be information that that potential client wouldn't have heard from anyone else and especially wouldn't have heard from his current supplier. How do you do that?
Well, for example, you could share ideas that are new, that are unique to you, that they wouldn't have heard from anyone else. You can go more in-depth into a topic: write really long, in-depth articles. You can use more case studies, more examples, give more practical information than they've ever seen before. You can go more specific to their particular industry or sector or problem. If it's a really, really high potential client, you can even do a tailored report just for them: they'll not have seen that from anyone else. You could even just write and do your content in a way that's more entertaining, interesting, funny, or just better presented than anyone else by using video, for example.
All of that stuff they won't be getting from their existing supplier, so when you're competing against that existing supplier you won't be able to out-relationship them, but if you're smart and you work hard, you will be able to out-value them and that can give you the crucial advantage that'll get you in that door with that potential client … get even a small piece of work for them, for example. Then you'll be able to build your relationship further and easier once you're in there working with them. Then you can take over the account.
When it comes to winning new clients, you've got to build your relationship to a certain level, otherwise they won't work with you, but focus on building value. Adding more value, giving them more useful information, more insight than they'll get from anyone else and that's what will oust an incumbent. See you soon.