I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Price your message in context

At about the same time as I learned about aiming your content at your target audience, we looked for and bought another house and I learned another lesson from real estate agents.

In this case, the lesson was to understand your product specifically in the selling context.

First, the story… We found the house we wanted (and still happily live in) and decided to go for it at auction. The agents had shown disinterest in selling us the property (there was no way they would open it up outside of the allotted inspection times for instance) which is symptomatic of the whole situation.

We won the auction – yah!

The price was great – still a lot of money but cheaper than we would have expected. A house in the same block but on a main road and in bad condition sold for $500 more just a week earlier.

Signing the paperwork, it was obvious the owners and agents were very happy with the price as it was well above reserve.

Good to see a win-win for everyone.

Of course, the agents were less happy when they heard about the $500 more house near by. And were last seen driving towards it to see for themselves.

The point was that the owners had used non-local real estate agents who obviously thought our suburb was “lower” than the houses they usually sold so they devalued the property. They hadn’t done any research in the area so did not know the value of the land or comparisons with house styles in the area.

Our win but a valuable lesson – if selling, use someone who knows the product in the context of how it is being sold.

It’s like knowing you won’t get the same price for something at a school fete as you would in a craft shop in a tourist area.

Do some research to know your product, the context and what prices the market will accept.

Adjust your content to match, too – for example, ‘excellent value’ will work in many contexts, ‘exclusive touch of luxury’ will be out of place and ineffective at a school fete and ‘bargain bin’ does not inspire high prices.

Have you seen prices skewed because someone hasn’t understood the context or target market?

Choosing valuable partners

A few days ago I wrote about having strategic partners rather than just using suppliers, and how valuable they can be for your business. For example, having someone who knows your business and has strong ethics can provide much better expert support with less involvement from you.

It made me think about what is important when choosing partners for your business, and how it is worth spending that time rather than rushing the process.

So what are some of the key things to consider when being diligent about selecting partners?

  • price is important – it has to fit in your budget and you have to feel comfortable you are getting value for your money. It just doesn’t mean you always take the cheapest quote
  • expertise – obviously if you are paying for a service/product, you want it done by someone who knows what they are doing. Ask for their qualifications and experience, look at examples of their work, ask around for others who have used that service, do online searches to learn about a business – don’t just rely on their assurance that they ‘are experts’
  • quality – will get you get quality results you can be proud of? will the service meet your needs? will the results last for a reasonable time? It is worth paying more for something that will last as it is often cheaper than paying for it multiple times
  • service – do you get good service from your partner? That is, do you get prompt responses, respect, your thoughts listened to and clear messages?
  • value adding – does your partner offer information, ideas or extras that truly add value to your business in some way? For instance, if I write some web content for clients I often point out some additional links or improved navigation they could use and a printer I used for a client recently spotted an anomaly and asked for clarification rather than just printing as was.
  • relationships – to be most effective, you need a good relationship with your partners. I don’t mean you have to send them roses on Valentines Day or remember an anniversary, but just have a good working relationship where you can both communicate clearly and openly to get the best results.  A good relationship is more fun, saves time and increases the chance of getting urgent projects squeezed in, too. While you don’t have a relationship while selecting a partner, you can make an assessment about how you think you will get on with each other – if you don’t like someone at the start it is much harder to work well in the long-term
  • intangible assets – not always easy to judge straight away, but think about how your potential partner meets your expectations and beliefs; are they ethical, do they pay attention to details, do they demonstrate integrity, do they show an interest in ‘being green’, will they respect your privacy and property (including confidential information), and generally be professional.

What else can you add to this list?