Those who have either attended our inbound marketing events, have read our blog post or have come in contact with inbound marketing in a different way, are already aware: to generate leads via your website you must provide your target group with educational content. This does not mean that you immediately have to produce a 30 pages long e-book with deep technological knowledge. You can easily start by asking your sales and customer service colleagues about the most frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) they receive from customers.
You probably do not have to guess what question will exceed the others by far. In 90% of the cases that very question will most likely be: What does your products or services cost?
Nowadays you can hardly visit an industry event without emphasizing the importance of transparency. Whether it concerns congestion from the port of Rotterdam to the hinterland, where collaboration between various parties in the supply chain ensures faster handling, or whether it is about showing your daily business on social media: Openness of affairs inspires confidence and strengthens the relationship with (potential) customers. That last party is of course the most important one, but also the one that seems to be forgotten the most.
Many companies are still hesitant when it comes to transparency and therefore also the display of rates on their websites.
The three most heard arguments for not displaying rates on your website are:
- Every assignment or product is different. We always deliver custom solutions and therefore cannot display standardised rates on our website.
- Mentioning rates will deter our customers, especially because we find ourselves in a high price range as a supplier.
- If we mention our rates on the website, our competitor can benefit from this.
Each of these arguments are understandable reasons for being reluctant. Yet it is unfortunate that we often weigh the negative side effects more heavily than the benefits, which means that we disadvantage our customers. But it does not have to be this way. Let me explain these disadvantages from a different perspective:
1. Of course, every assignment is different. However, that does not mean that you cannot present guidelines that clearly define which factors can make a product or service more expensive and which factors reduce costs. The majority of our customers will experience this explanation as reasonable and get the impression that your organization is a reliable partner to do business with. This also saves the sales team a lot of time, because they no longer have to explain these factors separately in each quotation.
2. This assumption often is unjustified. What deteriorates potential buyers even more than suppliers who display ‘high’ rates, are suppliers that do not share any rates at all. Moreover, you have to ask yourself whether leads that are deterred by the level of your rates, will not drop out in a later phase. In a phase in which sales already have spent (or in this case lost) quite some of their valuable time in having conversations with and making customized quotations for these leads.
3. Most companies choose not to be transparent in costs, because this offers easy access for the competition. Basically, this means nothing more than that you make the competitors interest outweigh the interest of your potential customer. When you ask your sales colleagues if they have any idea what rates the competitor calculates, they usually know exactly in what price range the competition offer their products. Well, newsflash, if your organization is aware of the rates of the competition, there is big chance that your competitor is aware of your rates as well. Whether you do display them on your site or you do not: If they want to know, they will find out.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Maybe your organization operates in a grey area and are you being closely watched by the CIA or FBI. Or there is another reason why you may seriously harm your organization by publishing your price list. The majority of us, however, are not dealing with rocket science and will therefore have to deal with competitors who offer more or less the same products and / or services. This makes it more difficult for the potential buyer to make an informed decision on which vendor to do business with.
If all is well, your organization has opted for a positioning whereby it offers value for its customers in a way that it distinguishes itself from the competition. If this is not the case, then displaying your rates most likely is not going to be your biggest challenge. I am also aware that some organizations have based their earnings model on foggy pricing structures. This may be a profitable tactic on the short term, but times are changing rapidly and we are becoming more and more critical and demanding to our vendors. You can therefore seriously question the profitability and the growth potential of this tactic in the longer term.
Moral of the story remains that, when offering educational content. In the first place, we worry about the competition. Secondly, there is a large group of potential customers who fit your target group, but where your product or service does not offer the best solution for their challenge. These are the so called ‘bad fits’. This group is unlikely willing to pay your rate for the product or service you are offering, regardless in which phase you present them. The last group, who have an influence on the information we share, is just the one who pays the bills the end: your ideal customer!
When you turn this triangle around and let the interest of your ‘best fit customers’ weigh the most in the content that you share, you will definitely see the positive impact of this approach on your lead generation process. Thanks to this transparency you also create a very reliable impression, which supports the sales department and makes it easier for them to convert a lead into a customer. And is that not what it is all about?
Would you like to know more about online lead generation, content production or other online marketing related topics? Request a free consult!