I visited potential clients last week to discuss the prospect of storing their business files. It is a growing company which is handling increasing amounts of paperwork. I always like to visit client’s offices to see at first hand the problems they are facing. It allows me to gain a better understanding about their business and operations; so that the solution I can offer is tailored to their exact needs, as opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ approach.The client had approximately 250 boxes of files, an amount which is expected to quadruple in the next 6-12 months. The solution is simple, their in-house archiving is quite diligent; which makes the bar coding and index process simple. The ‘space’ issue was the main concern, extra room was required for more desks and staff.
I presented a proposal alongside a ‘price schedule’. The client was extremely happy with the proposal but informed me that I was competing against another company, who were offering storage for five pence less, per box. (Around £10 per month).
When vying for business, we all face strong competition. I always concentrate on making sure the client knows why our company is the best; I do not highlight the pitfalls of others in our field of business; it is better for the client to find this out for themselves. I do not want to waste energy being negative, when I can strive to always be the best.
Being the best meant that I could offer a dedicated Accounts Manager; a direct telephone line; (no Call Centre). I also explained that any files would be treated as if they were our own; we would value her boxes beyond just a number. The competitor didn’t offer these things; so I was delighted two days later, when I received an email informing us we were the chosen supplier.
“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
One has to recognise, that if you pay for a quality service, you are paying more at outset, but you are saving money in the long run. Only one thing happens when prices are lowered, margins reduce. Therefore, something else in the business has to be compromised in order to recoup a similar margin.
For example, a company might have to take a vehicle off the road, so deliveries would take longer; the Accounts Manager might have to move so there would be a delay in the process of recalling their files. Whatever it is, something has to be compromised. If your file is taking longer to be retrieved, it delays how quickly you can service your client. Time is money. You do not want to spend hours on a phone to a call centre, trying to get some information about a file and speaking to a different person every time you call!
The reason provided for winning the work: ‘I trust your company, I can call you when I need to, and know you will get them back to me when I need them……you give me peace of mind’
Finally, the delivery and destruction charges were much higher than ours. One delivery per month would result in the monthly bill being much higher than ours, if the client had one delivery a week from us.
It is ‘ human nature’ to look at the cheapest price and be tempted. You have to have a long term vision and see the overall value in the service. Take our industry for example, anyone can store a box on a shelf, but can they deliver it when you want it? Can they offer you assistance when you need it and can you speak to the same person every time? We do that, we are secure, local, reliable and cost effective: extremely ‘good value for money’.