Clients Don’t Buy Gasoline
Clients don’t buy gasoline at a service station. They buy the ability to keep driving and go where they need to go. It’s the same with professional services: clients buy solutions to their problems, not how we do what we do.
John Ray: [00:00:00] Hello. I’m John Ray on The Price and Value Journey. In 1960 when Theodore Levitt dissected the navel gazing oil industry in his classic Harvard Business Review essay Marketing Myopia, he wrote, “People actually do not buy gasoline. They cannot see it, taste it, feel it, appreciate it, or really test it. What they buy is the right to continue driving their cars.”
John Ray: [00:00:30] Those words don’t just apply to gasoline and the oil industry. They apply to our professional services that we offer. You see, clients buy solutions to their problems, wants, needs and hopes. They’re not concerned about the details which lie between their current day concerns and the solution that they crave. They don’t care, for example, how the gasoline gets made and delivered. Your service is simply a means to an end they crave, a solution. That will be true as long as there are clients to serve.
John Ray: [00:01:10] If you’re a CPA, for example, clients aren’t buying your ability to get a tax return prepared properly. That’s assumed. What they yearn for are better results for their businesses. They are purchasing a less stressful retirement. They are buying the peace of mind, knowing that if they are audited, they’ll have an experienced professional holding their hand.
John Ray: [00:01:34] Yes, there are a minority of clients who are perfectly happy with a tax return being prepared at the lowest cost. But most clients are oriented toward the value they’ll receive from the solutions you provide.
John Ray: [00:01:50] Sure, different customers have varying notions of what they will pay for that value, but they are value focused nonetheless. If your focus is on client solutions, a lot of questions you might be struggling with get answered. How do you market your services? How and whether you pivot? What service options do you offer? How do you price?
John Ray: [00:02:15] The best answer to all these questions starts with perspective. Understanding what clients are buying when they come to you. And they aren’t buying gasoline.
John Ray: [00:02:29] I’m John Ray on The Price and Value Journey. Past episodes of this series can be found at pricevaluejourney.com or on your favorite podcast app. And I’d be honored if you’d subscribe to the series and send me your feedback, email@example.com is my email address, and I’d love to hear from you. Thank you for listening.
About The Price and Value Journey
The title of this show describes the journey all professional services providers are on: building a services practice by seeking to convince the world of the value we offer, helping clients achieve the outcomes they desire and trying to do all that at pricing which reflects the value we deliver.
If you feel like you’re working too hard for too little money in your solo or small firm practice, this show is for you. Even if you’re reasonably happy with your practice, you’ll hear ways to improve both your bottom line as well as the mindset you bring to your business.
John Ray, Host of The Price and Value Journey
John Ray is the host of The Price and Value Journey.
John owns Ray Business Advisors, a business advisory practice. John’s services include advising solopreneur and small professional services firms on their pricing. John is passionate about the power of pricing for business owners, as changing pricing is the fastest way to change the profitability of a business. His clients are professionals who are selling their “grey matter,” such as attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, consultants, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.
In his other business, John is a Studio Owner, Producer, and Show Host with Business RadioX®, and works with business owners who want to do their own podcast. As a veteran B2B services provider, John’s special sauce is coaching B2B professionals to use a podcast to build relationships in a non-salesy way which translate into revenue.
John is the host of North Fulton Business Radio, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Radio, Alpharetta Tech Talk, and Business Leaders Radio. house shows which feature a wide range of business leaders and companies. John has hosted and/or produced over 1,300 podcast episodes.