I think this is excellent advice and a great story.
IPVMU Certified | 01/31/14 01:38am
Good delivery, but ultra-conditional advice.
These are only effective when your customer does not issue an RFP for their haircut.
Also, the point to use 'gold tools' reminds me of when I worked for a paint manufacturer. The owner is a millionaire, his 45 year old son is his lead regional salesman. One day, his adult son drove a new Hummer to work. The Owner proceeded to actually slap his son on the back of the head and yell:
"You expect busted-a$$ painters to pay your invoices when you roll up in that thing?!? TAKE IT BACK."
...and he did! And the $10/hr manufacturing workers laughed.
Anecdote moral: Never let your customers think you are taking advantage of them.
I know the point of the video is to correctly value your work, which I agree with, but winning with price extremes is a problem no matter if they are low or high.
"These are only effective when your customer does not issue an RFP for their haircut."
...gets my vote for Quote Of The Week.
As far as his delivery goes, once he gets into his groove he's pretty good.... but I almost bagged his ass after a full two minutes in, as his set-up stuff is way too long, kind of disconnected, and entirely unfunny. selfie cut-aways
As far as his content goes, it's just a repackaged 'Step 1: set/change customer expectation levels; Step 2: exceed them' spiel delivered in a folksy/passionate style, imo. Not bad, but I can't call it 'good' either.... maybe he just didn't persuade me into believing in the luxury experience of his podcast master class.
Damn engineers - Brian, Marty, shame on you. This is a typical mentality and no surprise why integrators struggle to differentiate themselves.
"These are only effective when your customer does not issue an RFP for their haircut."
His point is clearly not to pander to customers that are going to treat you like a commodity. RFP response = commodity
A 'hair salon' is clearly a niche business. It's no Supercuts. By definition and design, it is not going to get massive projects / locations / customers. For a lot of integrators, this is a real question: Do you truly want to play in that game? Or would you be more successful as a boutique business?
There are a number of other really good points in the video that you are sweeping under:
- "Written Up In Major Fashion Magazines": While you know my opinion on the absurdity of trade magazines, to someone with no domain knowledge, this can help validate you (e.g., the idiotic Fast50 awards - open now!)
- Naming: "Hair Studio" vs "Barbershop" - it sounds trivial, even manipulative, but naming yourself something different has a signaling effect
- Look/style of Building: Many integrator offices look terrible - like a scene out of District 9... Hard to motivate people to pay a premium, or even trust you, with such conditions
- Educating / Convincing Customer: This is the most standard / generally accepted practice. I'll ignore it.
- "Make your customers feel different, you can charge higher prices": What steps can you take to make how you interact and execute feel unique compared to your competitors?
And, btw, his delivery is one important element. Most people respond better to confident, articulate delivery (except for engineers :)
IPVMU Certified | 01/31/14 02:20pm
"His point is clearly not to pander to customers that are going to treat you like a commodity. RFP response = commodity"
If this is the filter you apply to doing business as an integrator, (ie: We don't do RFP work) then you will find yourself pitching church groups and ambulance chasing the police blotter for potential sales.
The 'commoditization' of surveillance is already happening. Taking a hard stance against that reality now just ensures you get steamrolled. When is the last time anyone bought a 'hand cast mechanical key blank' and had it cut by a 'master brass shearer' because they were just too good to buy the $.99 product the MinuteKEY machine spits out? The business world, specifically purchasing departments, are void of hipsters.
As far as image/branding, I'll agree that looking like a ragamuffin and calling yourself "Security Integrators USA/UK/etc" works against you. However, this market doesn't shop on Rodeo Drive. I challenge the concept anyone has ever filed a PO based on how nice the company flowerbeds look over price.
Security and surveillance systems are a grudge purchase for most. Until that changes (ps: it never will), the sentiment in the video is salve to a tired, margin weary market. But that's all it is.
IPVMU Certified | 01/31/14 02:55pm
"The business world, specifically purchasing departments, are void of hipsters." Oh how much I wish that was true!!!!
Even if you are responding to an RFP, there's probably a line or two you can add that will provide customers with added value, will help you differentiate your business from the pack, won't cost much to provide and can make your's look like a better deal even if your price is the same as the competition's.
The prospect might even call you to get more details and give you the opportunity to establish a real relationship, making what your offer a little less of a commodity.
Any edge is better than no edge.
| 02/01/14 06:46pm
1. I am not an engineer.
2. Differentiation is what is being pitched - not 'how to charge higher prices'. Charging higher prices is just one of the potential benefits that can be derived from differentiation.
The product (a haircut) doesn't change - it is the perception of the customer that can be changed when they receive differentiated service that is the gist of this article/video.
As I mentioned in my original response, this is not a new concept.
I would maintain that differentiated service is a very good thing that has many more benefits than just giving you the ability to charge higher prices. Personally, I don't think that 'charging higher prices' should be the goal - this is the main reason I didn't really care for this dude's Marketing 101 pep talk.
If you are attempting to differentiate your services from your competitors simply to charge higher prices, you will most likely fail in the long run. Customers will eventually figure out what you are doing, and see through the 'marketing hype'.
I agree with your last line - "Most people respond better to confident, articulate delivery..." - but it's the back-end stuff (service after the sale, showing you actually care about your customers, etc) that maintains your customer base.
Glib pitchmen/women can bring in customers with their confidence and articulated speech patterns, but the back-end crew had better be able to deliver (starting at the time of sale; continuing forever) on each promise and insinuation (part of the articulated delivery) from the front-end, or these 'lied-to' customers will destroy your business model in short order.
"The product (a haircut) doesn't change - it is the perception of the customer that can be changed when they receive differentiated service that is the gist of this article/video."
I do think the product / service is different here. Certainly part of the value is the increased ambience but the other part is an improved haircut.
There's a difference between using a buzzer and doing a haircut in 15 minutes and someone spending an hour plus using scissors to custom cut and style hair.
The analogy in surveillance would be an integrator who is a master at camera and VMS optimization, who goes in and gets the most of our advanced settings, tailors it to the customer's needs, makes sure they really know how to get the most out of it, etc.
| 02/01/14 08:05pm
"There's a difference between using a buzzer and doing a haircut in 15 minutes and someone spending an hour plus using scissors to custom cut and style hair."
The stylist master hair craftsman "..spent 45 minutes doing the fade - by hand... with nothing but scissors!'
IT'S HAIR, MAN! While I agree with your analogy in the last paragraph, I can not subscribe to the belief that someone spending 45 minutes on a fade knows wtf they are doing. :)
It's showmanship.... increasing the perception value. Only the wearer of the hair can be convinced of the need for a 45 minute, hand-crafted fade. The stark fact is that nobody else even notices, nor will ever care (imo).
IT'S CAMERAS, MAN! While I agree with your analogy in the last paragraph, I can not subscribe to the belief that someone spending 45 minutes on a camera optimization knows wtf they are doing. :)
It's showmanship.... increasing the perception value. Only the owner of the camera can be convinced of the need for a 45 minute, hand-optimized system. The stark fact is that nobody else even notices, nor will ever care (imo).
[Point: Some people will think many activities are overdone and overkill for their needs but for certain users, advanced techniques and skills deliver real value.]
One of the things I did think was most interesting in the example used was the inclusion of a "free" aircut refresh in the original price.
That accomplishes at least three things:
- Allows the customer to repeat and reinforce the positive experience (as long as it was positive) they first had within a relatively short period of time,
- Generates additional trafic for the business which is always something other customers like to see,
- Insures customers will think and talk about the business more often.
| 02/01/14 10:25pm
1. Ok, sure... but SuperCuts has this same policy - as does Joe's House Of Hair...and almost any other hair cutter (no matter what they are calling themselves, or their hair-cutteries). This is not a differentiator.
2. Marginal strength... generating too much 'additional traffic' (i.e. didn't do it right the 1st time) is certainly not a good thing. Perception goes both ways.
3. Insures'Ensures' is a little strong. Can it help? Sure... any perceived value can help word of mouth advertising.
Marty - The point is, does every video integrator do it and is it a differentiator if they don't?
Everybody needs to refresh their haicut at some point, like everybody has questions about their IP Video system at some point. The video assumes you had a good experience the first time. If I'd had a bad experience, I probably wouln't bother going back, and neither would I have paid for the original haircut. So, no. I don't agree that using this to generate additional traffic is a marginal strength.
Insure/Ensure. Tomato/Tomato. I hope you'll agree that by doing this, the vendor is, in a sense, buying an insurance policy that customers will think and talk about his business more often. There's no guarantee they will, like there's no guarantee you'll ever make a claim on your home insurance, but it's a pretty safe bet that they will come back more often and at least tell a few people that they did.
My first thought is that John is laying the ground work for a price increase at IPVM! "I am not sure I agree with it, but a number of recommendations are worth seriously considering"
Hmm, watch for a tweet where I announce I now have a gold laptop...
Marty Major: "A GOLD laptop?!? SONAVAB#TCH!"
| 02/03/14 01:16am
I would instantly recognize the golden laptop as a marketing ploy...
...unless, of course, you legally changed your name to The Grand Wizard of IP Video, sent all new subscribers a mint chocolate square and an office chair head pillow, sent birthday cards to all subscribers mothers and - most importantly.... provided camera unboxing videos each month.
Then I would almost certainly buy into your luxury experience.
Chesapeake & Midlantic
Speaking as an Apple user, I can tell you that some people are happy to pay more for a premium experience, even if it can be argued that the cheaper alternative is essentially the same.
IPVMU Certified | 02/03/14 03:16pm
Oh man, this is funny because the tweet is plausible!