I often tell my clients that in every human interaction one person is training another how to behave.  The question is do you want to be the trainer or the trainee?  They, all, want to be the trainer.  How do you accomplish that?

By being clear about:

  • What your company offers – image, innovation or time savings.
  • Who values it enough to pay premium prices to get it.
  • What is and is not a reasonable extension of your offerings.

Let’s say that you love throwing amazing parties on an affordable budget.  Think Martha Stewart.  Your company offers image without the hefty price tag.  You accomplish this through a series of how-to classes, videos and books.  Your market is do-it-yourselfers who want to throw elegant parties without hiring a caterer or party planner.  Their satisfaction comes as much from the the creative aspects of their preparations as the amazed looks they get from their guests.

Now imagine that you’re approached by a very wealthy family that’s willing to pay you a huge sum of money to put together a party for them.  Are you going to do it?  Let’s face it, there are a lot of compelling reasons to do so:

  • The money’s great.
  • You have the opportunity to enter a new market.
  • If you’re successful (and you know you will be), you’ll take your business to a new level.

So what’s the downside?  You’re on the threshold of confusing the market.  You’re about to start down a path that will leave buyers questioning whether you’re an educator or an event planner.  These are two dramatically different businesses serving different markets and requiring different marketing messages.  Try to do both and you’ll excel at neither.

The same would be true if you were approached by someone who wanted you to discount your materials because they ‘couldn’t afford them.’  In essence what these potential buyers are saying is that what you’re offering really isn’t that valuable to them.  If you lower your price, you’ve just taught them that your offerings don’t really possess the value you claimed and you’ll invite more of these buyers to the table.

It’s counter-intuitive, but allowing buyers to lure you into providing products or services that are outside your normal offerings trains them that you’ll do anything to make a buck.  It also creates confusion about what business you’re in.  Which, in turn, makes it more difficult to attract the customers who will pay premium prices for your offerings.

Conversely, saying “No” to requests that don’t fit your business strategy trains the market to make a conscious choice – to choose or not choose your offerings with either choice being all right with you.  Now you’re sending messages of:

  • Success – you don’t need their business to be successful.
  • Confidence – you’re very good at what you do.
  • Purpose – you have a mission and won’t be distracted from it.
  • Care – you want buyers to make informed decisions.

These are powerful messages that attract buyers who value what you have to offer.  Learn to say “No” to tantalizing temptations that don’t fit your business strategy and you will, indeed, be the trainer.

Author – Dale Furtwengler