Is Your B2B Business Simply a Commodity Business?
By Ian Dainty
Is your B2B business a commodity business, or a true value added product/service business?
I can’t count the number of owners, CEO’s, and presidents that tell me their B2B business is unique, and they don’t have any competition.
If you believe this about your business, I am very interested to talk to you about how and why you believe it is unique.
In this day and age, with the proliferation of businesses, both large, small and one-person bands, there really is no unique business, at least not for long.
You may offer something a little different than your competitors, but to them you are still a commodity.
And I have one way I can tell if your company is just a commodity company.
If you post your pricing on your website, your B2B business is definitely a commodity. And the only way you can compete is to keep lowering your prices, or, offering more and more for the same price.
Why? Because there is always another business that is much larger than yours, and very similar to yours, and they can offer a lower price to help rid their market (read – your market) of their competitors. (IE: your company).
So, how do you really distinguish your business?
There is really only one real distinct way to differentiate your B2B business; and that is with your people. Your people are definitely unique.
And because your sales people, and marketers, and client service people are the first people a potential client usually meets from your company, you must have each of these individuals trained and coached on how to converse with your potential clients.
I have interviewed thousands of B2B buyers over my business career, of over 40 years, and to a person, they say that the most important differentiator between companies is the people, especially the sales people and marketers.
Everything else being equal, your people are the sole reason most companies buy from your company, vs another company.
And this is especially true in B2B.
Your real uniqueness comes from your people.
And all of these B2B buyers stated that it is the way B2B sales people conduct themselves with them that they will choose your company.
Now, if you sell a commodity type product, say something below $10K per year, then price may be a larger factor than your people.
But even if your product and/or service does sell for a lower price, your people will be the reason that your clients stay with you. And that is because your people always stay in touch with your clients, the right way.
So then, how do you ensure that your people are the right people for getting good clients, and keeping them happy after they become clients?
And how do you make sure your people are using the right strategies and tactics to keep in touch the right way?
All of your client-facing people must be trained and coached properly, to ensure they understand how to initially deal with your potential clients, and then how to ensure your company keeps them as clients.
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