Ask yourself how important your service is to your customer. It’s likely that other providers could supply your customer with product or services similar to yours. But if your customer depends on you and on your reliability then maybe there’s some value and differentiation in that for you.
Your customer probably has plenty of things to think about when supplying their own customers. But if they can absolutely, 100% count on you doing your job, your part of the bargain, then it’s one less thing for them to worry about. Even if what you do appears to be insignificant and detached from your customer’s core activities, it still contributes to your customer delivering to their customers.
I sometimes think about the story of JFK, when he visited Cape Canaveral when the NASA space programme was starting off in the early 1960s. He met one of the cleaning staff and asked him what he did. ‘I’m helping to put a man on the moon, sir’ was his reply. He’d clearly connected his small role with the bigger picture.
Know what your customer’s mission is. And be clear on what their competitive edge is, so you can tap into it. If their edges are around quality, service and reliability for example, and you are good at doing these in what you do, then maybe you are more strategic as a supplier than you realised. If you don’t know about their competitive edges, or their mission, find out. It’s a good opportunity to get up higher up in your customer’s organisation.
If you really know what your customer is about, and if your customer sees you as contributing towards that mission, then that should more than make up for the few percentage points your cheaper competitor could knock off the price.
Take action: work out how important you are to your customer. Understand their mission, and their competitive edge.
If you’d like to contribute your thoughts on this topic, then we’d love to hear from you. Please post a comment below.
Next time we look at the value you and your team bring to the customer.