**Here is a great blog piece, by our Chief Marketing Officer, Dave Scott, from a recent buying experience he had. In case you didn’t know, Dave lives in the Twin Cities metro and travels to tropical Fargo every month, splitting his time with our team. Enjoy!**
My wife and I have California Closets in our home and they are not cheap.
Not to mention, there are a good half-a-dozen other closet companies in the greater Twin Cities area, that could have installed closets in our home for less.
So why did I spend so much when I could have paid less, and had my closet system installed by a competitor of Cal Closets? (Dave Ramsey would tell me I’m stupid for spending more than I needed to)
And what in the name of mike do my closets have to do with spending money on marketing?
My buying-logic starts with a story
The brand name California Closets may not mean much for men, but every woman knows about Cal Closets. And that’s because Cal Closets advertises in every magazine that women read, and ultimately women are the target audience for Cal Closets. (the cliche ‘sell the wife, sell the house’ applies to home-closet projects as well)
From Cosmopolitan to Good Housekeeping, California Closets knows their audience and they know who buys their closet systems. They have known this for decades. Cal Closets loves to market to their niche demographic in women, and women in turn love to buy Cal Closets, while rarely being concerned with the price-tag.
The 2 hour experience that made us smarter
Our journey started when we had Cal Closet’s designer come to our home. It took her about two hours to measure and create some designs for us.
And let’s call our Cal Closets designer “Maggie.” Maggie connected with my wife, was professional, and instantly built trust. Trust is critical in the buying process, for my wife, and women everywhere.
Maggie’s follow up was rock-solid, and she never talked about price or her competition.
Instead, Maggie’s focus was showing us how she would solve our storage struggles. And show us she did.
Maggie used visuals and examples to reveal to my wife how she intended to solve our issues of chaotic clothes lying around and stuff on the floor. (and no, I am not a hoarder)
What Maggie did was offer my wife something that’s called value. Value is serving someone through providing worth, usefulness, principles and good standards. Value is the stuff that an ROI is made of.
Winning because your competition is terrible
The other closet companies in the Twin Cities were terrible.
My wife even worked with a closet designer that was going to charge us for making simple design changes to the design that SHE created.
We felt insulted and uncomfortable knowing that competitors of Cal Closet wanted to charge us just to come to our home, along with the nickel-and-dime-mindset.
One closet company even had a sales lady who smelled like cigarettes and trashed her competitors, nonstop. (Because nothing says ‘buy from me’ quite like the smell of cigarettes and cheap perfume, right?)
So…what does this journey have to do with marketing?
Most businesses and business owners I’ve worked with (not all, but most) feel they can “do” marketing on their own.
And like purchasing a cheap closet system which delivers less than optimal results, most business leaders are too damn cheap when it comes to marketing, so they strive to cut costs, and limit themselves to the notion that not spending money is somehow a good thing.
Many business owners also feel they “know” their target audience (which Cal Closets definitely does) and they feel that they understand the message that their target audience wants to hear.
And, like the cigarette-smelling-closet-saleman-sojourner that I referenced above, most small-to-medium sized companies (SMB’s) would rather be frugal with their marketing budget, rather than pay more for the value of a job done right.
Now…in defense of business leaders, marketers, and owners, I understand it’s hard to choose the right marketing firm or marketing consultant to help you. There are many marketing agencies and marketing consultants in existence that will just take your money and give you little in return.
Making this choice is hard. I get it.
But when an SMB goes cheap and doesn’t invest in their marketing the right way, think about this: it not only hurts you, it hurts your customers and potential customers.
Carol Roth, author of the ‘The Entrepreneur Equation’ talks about why entrepreneurs should get into business. Roth argues that entrepreneurs should be in business because they have a product/service that serves it’s customers and helps solve something for their customers.
When companies don’t focus on serving their customers, through a storytelling session of awe-inspiring messaging, they do a disservice to their customers and prospective customers, by not helping them solve their problems. And in the end, the consumer is left trying to figure it out on their own, and no consumer should ever have to flail around like a grounded fish.
So what can you do to become a trusted-advisor, like my closet-besties, and gain new business without having to worry about the price conversation with your customers and prospects?
- Know your persona. (persona = ideal client and customer) Spend time defining your customer and prospects. Understand their business struggles that they go through on a daily basis.
- Sell on value and the problems you will solve for your audience. Don’t aspire to be the low-cost leader or trash your competition.
- Spend time with your prospects. Don’t ask for the sale on the very first appointment, unless you know they’re absolutely ready to buy. Spend time earning their trust, educate them, then earn their money and business.
- Lastly: don’t be afraid to spend money or take a risk.
A few questions to challenge you:
- Are you going cheap on your web design/marketing efforts?
- Is your sales model to simply hire bunches of sales people to sell your product?
- Is your company hiring quality marketers and copywriters to tell your story, thus building trust and credibility through educating your prospects with good content?
- Are you hiring marketing team members who are competent and paying them well?
- Are you in business for your customer and do you serenade your prospective customers with your story, or do you just want their money?
California Closets makes the world’s best closet. We found incredible value in the end-result of their product and service.
We paid more for their product and paid more for their service.
With customer acquisition getting harder, through the invent of the web, the methodology of paying top dollar for good marketing is critical to sustain business.
The business leaders that subscribe to the concept of consistent content creation, and avoid the misconception of going cheap on marketing, will have success defined by lead gen and sales.
Until then, I’m going to sit inside my closet and bask in the marvel of modern closet organization. While I do that, enjoy the pictures of our closets below and please tell me about an experience, in the comments section below, about a time where you spent more for a better result.