Everyone is going crazy over Apple's new iPhone --- for better or for worse. Now, whether you like Apple or not, we can all agree that the price of the newly released iPhone is quite the shocker. That might turn off some customers, but I will make the bet that it's a smart move for the company. Why? A $1000 phone actually strengthens what their brand stands for: the highest quality brand, with the best customer experience.
This reputation is what helped Apple become the most profitable company in the world, and the first US company to hit $800 billion in market value, according to Bloomberg Technology. So, what can we learn from Apple?
Price is not the first thing most customers care about.
In fact, at my company we did a double blind marketing study and found that price (surprisingly) came in as the ninth most important factor when people were considering buying a garage door. Let me say that again: not the first, second, or third most important, but ninth.
So, stop obsessing over how you can slash your prices. Instead, create and price your products at a premium. Then, deliver an awesome customer experience. That is how you will become the Apple of your industry.
This two-step process will help you do just that:
1. Create a brand that is irreplaceable.
Many new entrepreneurs make the mistake of comparing themselves with their competitors, when they should be focusing on their company instead. Any competitor can come in and copy your products, or try to outprice you. (Patents don't necessarily make you safe, because there are ways to get around these.) But if you dominate a niche, your customers will remember you.
Here's an example: popular Chinese phone manufacturer Oppo blatantly copies Apple's iPhone designs, and sells lookalikes at significantly lower prices. How did Apple respond? Did they come up with new designs? Overhaul their product line? Cut their prices? Nope, none of the above. Apple's strategy was to stick to its guns, and continue selling its products at a premium. This paid off handsomely, despite fierce competition from Oppo (and other Chinese smartphone brands), Apple still dominated in terms of profit.
When I started my business a decade ago, I knew that we had to go niche as well. It didn't make sense for us to try to cater to everyone. Instead, I made the call to focus on higher ticket jobs (such as custom garage doors), and turn down cheap assignments. Today, we're known as a premium garage door service, and our reputation speaks for itself.
Take a minute to reflect on your company and ask yourself: What is the one thing you want your brand to be known for, which you know no one can deliver as well as you can?
2. Create a killer customer experience.
Once you nail your branding, follow through with a killer customer experience. Here's the harsh reality of things: it's simply not enough to sell high quality products. Heck, if that was all there is to running a successful business, Apple wouldn't exist today.
Apple clearly knows that people buy experiences, not products. From the iPhone product box to the people they hire to staff the physical stores, Apple deliberately designs a customer experience that exceeds customer expectations. Not only that, Apple staff go through 10 days of Apple's "Core" program, 10 more days of Apple Bootcamp, and then finally, a shadowing program in which they learn hands-on from veteran employees.
At our company, we also train our employees to prioritize our customers' experience. One thing our employees always do is to take our time to talk with the customer even after we're done with installations. This helps us make sure the customer is happy with our service. In addition to this, we follow up with our customers based on the CRM data we have on hand (checking to see if the door we previously installed needs a repair, etc.)
Here's an easy way to get ideas that will help you improve your customers' experience: Ask yourself, what could you do to get your customer to leave you a 5-star review?
A few final words
You don't need to compete on price. You don't even need to compete with your competitors. What you need to do is do a great job with your branding and customer experience. Then, watch your profits skyrocket. It won't happen overnight, but once you're the Apple of your industry, you will thank yourself for all the hard work.