Perceived value is huge in many businesses, and the asphalt industry is no exception. What exactly is perceived value, and what does it mean to me?
We all know (or should know) that in the paving and pavement maintenance industry we are in the service business: we provide a service to others. For anything from striping to paving, we constantly market our company and services to the end user, and we want to do that in the most professional way we can.
Why? Simple: it's a trust factor. As you gain experience and are trusted more and more, you will find your business getting more jobs — and hopefully more money on each job.
Marketing More than Low Cost
When a client looks at potential businesses to hire, there are usually several factors in addition to cost that influence a decision. Unfortunately, many asphalt operations focus just on cost and become the infamous #LowBid guys.
We’ve taken a different approach, focusing less on cost and more on marketing our company’s abilities and who we are professionally. We are improving how our company is perceived, creating the value of the company in and of itself. This is perceived value. It sets us apart from those that don't do it, and it lets the customer know that we can handle their project with ease and professionalism. Perceived value is a great way to market your operation to show that it’s superior to your competition.
Some of the steps we have taken to improve our perceived value include expanding our knowledge base by attending National Pavement Expo regularly, attending executive leadership conferences, and enrolling in continuing education courses (and letting our customers know about our self-improvement efforts).
Our estimating team understands what causes pavement failures and defects, so we know the proper methods of repair. And we research the best sealcoats, traffic paints, and other products to ensure we offer the best of the best for our clients. In fact, we are constantly conducting field tests with products and documenting results to ensure what we use will exceed expectations.
All these efforts enable us to offer the best available products and services to our clients — we are creating perceived value for our company.
I would say the top things you need to create perceived value are:
- Properly trained and uniformed crews
- Clean trucks
- Modern tools and equipment
Does Perceived Value Work?
Think about the products or services that you buy….Now think about the products you buy that you might pay more money for the brand name or for something you think is simply better. Is Chevron premium gasoline that much better? Is Fruit Loops cereal better than its white label rival Tootie Fruities? Is the Ford F-150 Platinum really better than the Ford F-150 Lariat?
These are just a few examples of everyday cases where marketers are trying to market a product that’s thought to be a better, more-premium product than its rivals, even within its own class. Some will argue Fruit Loops dominates, but in many cases, you can’t tell! It’s all marketing, all perceived value. One thing is clear: people will pay for perceived value.
We market and relate to those customers who want to hire a premium contractor. We don't play the high-volume or #LowBid game but take each client and give them exactly what we promise without any rush or compromise. It's not blowing hot air either -- we genuinely offer a premium experience and product.
I firmly believe that you will be able to command higher prices by representing your operation in the most professional light you can. We’re a great example! Ever since we have improved our perceived value, we do get those higher prices. We don't get them all, but we do get a good chunk.
By creating perceived value for your company, not only will you potentially increase margins, but your clients will be happier, and you will be bettering the industry.