In a Service Industry World, Any Company Can Beat a Price; How Do You Stand Out Above the Competition?
By Dan Beck, Snapp & Associates Insurance
In almost any service-related business, there’s always someone that will do it for less. Someone will always beat a rate if they are hungry enough. This is especially true in the insurance industry. Brokers work with the same insurance companies; there is always a way to get a lower quote, even if you are bidding out between two different brokers for the same carrier. Maybe the broker cuts their commission, maybe they call in a favor. Regardless, you can always get a lower quote.
If you lose a customer to a lower bid, you need to replace that revenue. It’s a never ending cycle and as a result, companies are constantly seeking new ways to drum up business.
To truly succeed in a service industry and build client relationships that last, smart companies are realizing that it’s not what you cut for a client, but what you add. Finding ways to enhance your customer’s bottom line through your service is the best way for clients to feel valued and have them place stock in the quality of your business relationship.
As a result, you need to re-think how you market your business. Previously, you might have taken out advertisements or produced flyers advertising your company’s ability to get a good price or competitive quote. Perhaps you used special offers or coupons to attract new customers. Whatever the technique, eventually you will be faced with the same dilemma: Someone will undercut you and take your clients. You’ll be faced again with the same marketing expense, promoting your lower costs, once again trying to attract new clients.
Many in the service industry have begun shifting the way they think about “marketing” dollars. Instead of allocating a certain percent of sales or revenue each quarter to buy advertisements, they are allocating that percent instead towards an investment back into the company, into value-added services clients can’t get anywhere else.
For example, companies now are seeking insurance agencies that offer these value added services, like BizAssure (www.bizassure.com) as a bonus to clients. BizAssure is a members-only consulting service that offers access to legal, accounting, IT, HR and business professionals on an as-needed basis. San Diego’s Snapp and Associates has invested heavily into the BizAssure co-op and offers all its clients access to their services for little to no cost.
Using the BizAssure consultants, instead of paying for individual services as needed, saves companies an average of at least $800 per year per employee.
Another example is re-investing in staffing. Take some of those traditional “marketing” dollars again each quarter and use them for additional training for your existing employees. Can you add a certification or service that others in your industry can’t offer? How about after-hours access? Perhaps allocating marketing dollars towards a service line can enhance overall customer satisfaction.
With competition and access to lower prices always increasing, in order to be successful you must think about the way you invest in promoting your services and truly standing out above the crowd.
Dan Beck is senior vice president of Snapp and Associates (www.snappassociates.com), one of San Diego’s most successful independent insurance agencies.