In many respects, business is just a big complicated game. Like most games, you have an objective, a desired outcome, a plan, a strategy, team members, competitors, necessary skills and resources to work with. And like many games, when someone wins, the perception is others lose. But unlike the traditional game outcome, a business can be successful without winning every encounter in the marketplace.
In order to be the best player you can be with the business you have, you need to know what your best game looks like. It’s the outcome that’s most important to you; it’s the way you play and the strategy you feel most confident with; it’s knowing when to go for the win and when to hold your ground.
Here’s An Everyday Example
The best example I can offer to illustrate this point is when you are competing for a new client and price is involved in the decision. If you offer a high quality, high value service and your competition is loaded with companies who play the price game, you may at some point feel pressure to lower your prices in order to compete. When you do this, you change your strategy and start playing someone else’s game. Doing this can cause feelings of uneasiness and self doubt. If you do it often enough, you become wary of your own value and damage your company’s reputation- your brand!
Lack of Conviction Leads to Lots of Confusion
Your game is to do your best work and charge accordingly. You deliver world class outcomes and treat your clients like royalty and for this there is a premium to be paid. Think Virgin Atlantic vs. Spirit Airlines! Not everyone offers quality work like you do which makes it all the more critical that you clearly articulate your value during every steps of the marketing and sales process. So, why after all the work you have put into building a quality brand and service do you immediately wrestle with the notion of changing your game plan when lower priced competitors arrive on the field wanting to play?
It’s not easy to stay committed to your value and the price you want for it but it’s critical that you stay there. Why, because lowering your price dilutes your value. Remember this about how people make decisions to buy. People make decisions based on a definable difference that meets their needs. If there is no definable difference, price becomes the reason for selecting. Available options that all look the same are considered commodities and commodities are sold on price!
Clear Communication is the Key
If your game is based on value, you need to make sure your prospects clearly understand the difference between you and the other players. Not the difference in color or size or selection or any other feature related items. The difference should be directly linked to what the client wants as an outcome. If they understand that cheaper alternatives won’t deliver what they want, they now understand your game. If they can’t see a difference, even if there is one, they are susceptible to the other player’s game. Think Verizon vs. Boost Mobile!
Perfecting Your Game Means Continually Improving It
If you believe that what you offer is the best available solution for the client and a fair price for the results they get, stuck with your game plan. If you don’t win that particular game, recognize that that particular prospect was not the right one for you. By continually refining how you play your business game, you will become more proficient at playing it your way and others will recognize you for it.
Of course, there are some things to consider when developing your business game plan:
People Want to Be Associated With Confident Players
The sooner you get clear and confident with how you play your business game, the more successful you will be at winning the games that count. In the end, most customers/ clients want to know they are getting the best deal (this doesn’t mean the cheapest price); they are associating with a winning organization and they feel like they got tremendous value for their money.
So, what’s your game plan? Does your ideal client know it when they see it?
Do you play your game like a pro? If not, you’ll be playing your competitors game without realizing it!
About the Author
After a stellar 29 year career in the consumer products manufacturing industry, Steve Smith converted his knowledge and experience into a successful business and executive coaching company. In 2008, he opened GrowthSource Coaching in Orange County, CA