Guru urges broker shake-up

Brokers were served a hard truth regarding the way they have been marketing their businesses and have been urged by a leading customer service guru to start thinking differently about the way they sell.

Marketing authority Martin Grunstein presented a high-energy session on making profit in changing times at the NIBA Convention in Melbourne yesterday, telling brokers that they need to increase their client’s perception of value, not lower their prices.

“Forget the price difference, forget the industry – I think that most people in this country believe that you match the price, or lose the sale. That’s rubbish,” Grunstein says.

“The issue we face these days is that consumers need reasons to justify their expenditure.”

Martin Grunstein.

Martin Grunstein.

Grunstein says that lowering prices to compete with other businesses is the wrong way to sell. Instead, brokers should be focusing on justifying their prices to their clients through added value.

“I believe that whether the sale is made or not has nothing to do with the product and almost everything to do with giving reasons to justify the expenditure,” he says.

“We spend our life in business educating the consumer to screw us on price, and then we complain when they come and do it.

“The preoccupation with price is much more in the mind of the seller than it is in the mind of the buyer, and you see it everywhere.”

Grunstein says that brokers need to compete in the realm of service, rather than price, and start by communicating the unique value that their business adds to a client’s purchase.

“Remind me of all the things I get from you that I don’t pay for, because if you don’t remind me how can you blame me for making my decision on the price you are offering me.”

With many smaller companies in Australia feeling the squeeze of market downturn, Grunstein says it is imperative to add your customer’s perception of value to the sale of standard products if you want to keep their custom.

“That’s how you beat the big bastards. You don’t fight fire with fire, you fight fire with water.”

Grunstein offered delegates a range of practical marketing tips to implement within their own businesses, such as increasing their personal accessibility to existing clientele, reflecting their clients’ values through community involvement and using client testimonials, written and verbal, to persuade potential customers.  

Change the way you market your broking business to fit in with how people make decisions,” Grunstein says.

“Don’t make your customer change the way they make decisions to fit in with the way you market, because you guys are getting it wrong. Your lack of profitability is telling you that you guys are getting it wrong.”