A couple weeks ago I laid helpless in my dentist’s chair with a power drill down my throat. Rob, my dentist of several years and a towering figure launched into something he was obviously very convicted about that day.
“Dave, I really don’t have any guilt charging you today. We’re renovating our house and I just got the designer’s invoice and wow.. he’s sure not afraid to billl” No matter what I thought of his outburst, I wasn’t in a position to argue.
Ironically and thankfully Rob’s designer launched a curious and positive chain of events. Because the designer wasn’t afraid to charge, Rob had no trouble charging me and Rob’s Power Drill Manifesto affected me later that day as I went to quote a prospect I really wanted.
You see the temptation would have been for me to go in with as low a price as possible with the reward being that I might actually make some money down the road with more business. Rob’s manifesto reminded me to just ask for what I was worth. Getting what you are worth. What a concept.
For many of us it may seem like some sort of far off dream.
It is a concept that so many business people that attend my Communication & Leadership seminars struggle with.
It is a concept I have to keep myself honest with on a daily basis.
Having served the Transport Sector for close to 20 years I also recognize it as one of the primary issues that needs to be addressed in for a return to health of this vital sector in Canada’s economy.
Let’s face it, the consequences of not getting what you are worth are many:
Loss of Self Esteem
Financial Struggles both on a corporate and personal level
and biggest of all: a Negative Attitude.
A negative attitude to those suppliers or clients we feel aren’t treating us as well as they should be which spirals us into a negative and toxic relationship.
I have to always remember this personal and corporate truth: I am always in control. No one can undervalue me unless I let them.
I am extremely fortunate to mingle with some positive leaders each and every year in the concept of getting what you are worth in the Transport sector. They are many of the men and women who win their way into the annual Wowtrucks® Calendar I photograph and produce. Wowtrucks® is my way of combining two personal passions, photography and people.
I take 3 trophy winners from each of the 4 major show n shines across Canada each year and together they form Canada’s Big Rig Calendar. The calendar, even more importantly than showcasing really cool trucks also showcases really cool people. To me the image of the truck is simply a portrait representation of that person. Your clients/prospects get images of your truck(s)/fleet every day. What do those images say about you or your company?
Many of the Owner Operators who win their way into the calendar are not afraid to ask for what they are worth and they tend to get it. Yes, they are not completely immune to swings in the economy, but even in tougher times they are still making more than their counterparts who don’t get the concept of asking for what you are worth. In tougher times, they may make more than their competitors as they may choose to do less, and not accept business that is demanding them to work for far less than they are worth.
Here’s the chain of events that are common to their stories:
1) They take pride in their Rig and their fleet.
2) Customers start to associate that with pride in a job well done.
3) They deliver on their promise. Loads delivered on time, safely by drivers who are happy to be there and care about the client.
4) Long term positive relationships form and clients recognize the value of dealing with them.
5) That value translates past a $ per mile cost and they aren’t under the same constant pressure to match bottom market pricing at all times that their peers are under.
6) Because they feel valued they continue to take pride in their Rig and Fleet
7) Go to Step 1
At this point I know a few of you will be thinking to yourself “Earth calling Dave! Earth calling Dave! Nice on paper buddy but my clients will never pay me what I think I’m worth and there’s not a thing I can do about it. If I don’t take the business at those lower rates there’s another company that will in a heartbeat.” I hear you and reality says that that all to frequently you are absolutely right.
And while the answer is slightly more involved than the straight forward path I’m going to suggest: The basic solution path I would encourage you with is:
*Provide value to your clients (1000’s of ways to do this aside from cost per mile)
*Ask for what you are worth.
*Potentially walk away from clients who won’t pay you what you are worth.
*Let your competitors take that business at non sustainable rates and drown.
*Be happier and thrive in a very competitive industry. The alternative is accepting less than your worth and in a nightmare scenario actually surviving. Surviving as an unhappy, underpaid, overstressed supplier of transport services complaining and blaming everyone around you for your circumstance. Even when the reality is it was a choice you made and continue to make. This isn’t just transport, we’ve all seen this in every industry.
If you provide value to your clients and go out and ask for what you worth, the absolute worst thing that can happen is they won’t recognize it and that you transfer your skills and talents to a marketplace or industry that will.
And while that type of attitude takes courage and sounds harsh: we all recognize that there are way too many in the industry today just “hanging on”. Thats not healthy neither for the sector nor for them.
I’ve been party to many a conversation enviously mocking another industry, perhaps a supplier, because they’re not afraid to pass on costs, charge what they need to etc. Similar to the “It must be nice” manifesto I got from Rob. “It must be nice” would be the common opener to those conversations that we’ve all heard and likely all participated in at one time or another. We’re envious of people who are not afraid to assert their value.
If that applies to you today, be encouraged that “ nice” is not a pipe dream and may not involve ditching the transport sector! It simply boils down to choices we make where we are at. I passionately believe that you and I deserve to get properly recognized for the services we provide: both financially and otherwise. If each one of us were to take that message to heart and go ask for it, it would radically change the face and health of the transport sector in Canada today.
If you need encouragement, just envision your dentist with a power drill down your throat.
David Benjatschek is a professional speaker/trainer on the topics of Leadership & Communication. Find out more by visiting his website: www.marketbeamer.com
David Benjatschek is a professional business speaker/trainer, motivating audiences across North America. His 15 year career in Oil & Gas primarily focused on the transportation sector. Also an accredited photographer, David is the driving force behind wowtrucks.com and the Wowtrucks® Calendar: Canada's Big Rig Calendar. All posts by David Benjatschek