Think of your best customers. You enjoy working with them and they enjoy working
with you. Now ask yourself – are you over-servicing them? Over-servicing is a
condition that afflicts many vendors. A clear symptom of this condition is the
amount of free consulting you give away. If your client were to actually pay for this
consulting, the amount would be significant. That amount is an opportunity cost for
you. There is, however, the very real cost of your people’s time.
Your clients will gladly accept what you give to them for free. Many, however, are
also willing to pay you for this added value. When you add up the true cost of
servicing these customers many will turn out to be unprofitable relationships for
you. To move to a mutually profitable relationship you have two choices:
- Stop giving away free consulting. If the customer does not value the
consulting (i.e. they are unwilling to pay for it), stop providing it and make it
an option that they can select.
- Negotiate payment. Payment does not have to be a literal cheque. It can be
an agreement to increase the scope of your business and/or the price of your
Paradoxically, when your sales people demonstrate confidence in the value they are
providing and expect payment for it, your customers’ perception of the value
increases. Conversely, when your people give services away, customers value the
service less and value your relationship with them less.
As we head into the spring season, isn’t it time to do some spring cleaning? It’s time
to stop over-servicing your customers!