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Value is a selling feature for old school business owners

Nancy Roblewsky

Value is a selling feature for old school business owners

One of our clients was lamenting that there’s not many old school business owners around any more and that while they use to make up the majority, they now are the minority.  We also discussed value as a selling feature but many people can’t see beyond the cheapest price.  When the deciding factor is money, the lowest price always wins their business though it’s NOT always the best value. Many times the lowest price comes back to bite them in the ‘you know what.’

At first, I thought these 2 issues were separate blog posts but as I gave it more thought, I realized they are probably related.  Of course, other people may disagree but if you hang with me you may see where I am going with this.  As a old school business owner myself, I thought about the type of clients we attract, the clients that stick around long term and our relationship with them.  Our best clients are very similar to each other and I would categorize them as old school business owners too.

Defining “Old School”

Many people may wonder what I mean by ‘old school business owners’ though any old school business owner will know exactly what I’m talking about.  By the way, being ‘old school’ has nothing to do with your age; it’s about how you treat your clients, colleagues, employees and how you conduct business.

It also has nothing to do with using outdated business practices or not embracing new technology to help you run your business better so don’t confuse ‘old school’ with ‘outdated.’

Customers relationships are vital

Old school business owners value their customers and work at building a long-term relationship with them.  They know if they do a good job and are honest with them, they are more likely to retain them as customers.  Old schoolers want a good deal but they don’t choose a new vendor, service or product simply because it is cheaper.

They understand ‘you get what you pay for’ and know the lowest price is usually not the best value or the highest quality.  Likewise, they don’t jump from vendor to vendor just because the price is lower.

Trust is key

They value the trust they have built over the years with their current vendors and while another company may be cheaper, they understand the level of service will likely be lower.  They also realize the new company won’t understand their business and may not treat them with the same level of respect.  In addition, they may not provide all the services (tangible and intangible) the old company provided simply because you had been with them for many years.

Our clients are other business owners and we look out for them and part of that is making sure they don’t spend money unnecessarily.  Our goal is to help them be more successful so we want to do whatever we can to make that happen.

Because of this, we encourage our clients to call or email if they ever have questions about anything to do with web design, marketing or other areas.  We want them to trust us so that when we give them our opinion or recommendation, it means something.  The absolute best compliment a customer can give me is to say they trust us.

Do what’s best for the customer

As a fellow ‘old schooler’, I can attest to the fact that we are in business to make money but we also have a code of ethics we live by.  We don’t sell a customer something they don’t need and it’s in our blood to be honest with them.  Yes, I would love to sell every business a new website but I won’t sell a service or product to someone unless they need it and I also don’t sell them more than what they need.

The business owner I was talking with this last week said he was at a service call recently and as it turned out, a simple repair was all she needed.  He said, “I would have loved to have sold her a new roof and I could have lied to her, but that’s not the way I do business.  I’m honest but I know many other business owners would not have been honest and would have told her she needed a whole new roof.”

Honesty is the best policy

This is the proper way to do business and is textbook old school.  Old schoolers are truly looking out for their customers (even new ones) and want what’s best for them.  They are trustworthy and you know that if they say you need to spend the money for a new roof or a new website, it’s the truth.

Their business has been built around their honesty and often, these businesses may not offer the cheapest price but they are the best value.  They don’t take shortcuts when working on a project so quality is higher and it lasts.

What do we mean when we say value?

People throw the word “Value” around so much that it has really lost most of its meaning.  When I say value, I mean the service or job is of superior quality so it will last longer. A business with the cheapest price often does an inferior job and problems develop down the road.  Often, these companies aren’t around to fix the problem so you have to call in another company who charges you to fix the problem (which if done correctly in the first place, would not even be an issue).

If you take the price you paid and divide it over the number of years the product lasts, you would see that the company with the higher price was a much better deal as problems never developed down the road, as did with the cheapest company.

Lowest price isn’t the best value

Old schoolers aren’t tempted by the lowest price and therefore, they don’t run their business that way.  They were taught and truly believe that offering the best value is the way to run their business though it’s getting harder and harder to do this in today’s society.

Too many people only look at the price and while they say price is not the deciding factor, it really is.  While they may initially have a list of criteria they use, it gets thrown out and by the end of the process, it comes down to money.

As the number of old school business owners dwindles, so goes the true concept of ‘value’ as more people are only looking short term and that’s why the cheapest price seems more attractive.  I guess us ‘old school people’ look at things long term and have a different approach in the way we look at things and how we do business.

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Published: December 22, 2017 • Last Updated: March 12, 2020