Thursday, January 13, 2011

Perceived value in a tough economy

I was at an advisory board meeting for the Better Business Bureau today and we were discussing perceived value.  We were talking about the reasons some businesses chose not to renew their accreditation with the BBB and it came down to perceived value. 
With many small businesses continuing to struggle financially, owners must make hard decisions on where to spend money.  Some areas are not negotiable-insurance and rent must be paid as do employees.  Other areas are not as obvious such as memberships or dues.  Accounting often falls into the same category-lacking perceived value. 
Beth and I have been fortunate to retain all our clients through the last 2 years, but we often run into the value question when we are meeting with perspective clients.  They know they need help, but the idea of the accounting bill can be hard to swallow.  Those businesses who do retain us do come to see the value of our work which is why they remain clients.  We make sure to post their recommendations and testimonials on our website and on Linked In so potential clients can see what people have to say about our work. 
My husband often finds himself in a similar situation.  He is the sales manager for a local business which is fortunate to have over 50 years of quality products and service to their name.  Despite this sterling reputation, they often find businesses interested only in the bottom line-they want the lowest bill or the cheapest alternative and not the best value.  Again, it is a question of perceived value.  There may be other businesses that provide a cheaper product, but the buyer may find that the quality is lower and the maintenance higher and in the long run, the overall cost to the business will be higher.  Some individuals find this concept difficult to comprehend upfront. 
Any ideas on how to combat the question of perceived value?

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