Low Cost versus Solution Providers
I often hear "we sell solutions" versus cheap printing, but I don't always get the impression that those saying the words understand what becoming a true solution provider means. The HBR article on competing with low cost providers has an excellent case study.
Orica a provider of explosive materials for blasting rocks was threatened by low cost competitors entering the market. A price war ensued. Instead of continuing the price war Orica transformed itself into a solutions provider. How did they do this? They not only sold explosives, but they sent a crew on site to lay the explosives. They started to provide their expertise advice on how to best implement the explosives. Before long they were selling broken rock instead of explosives. At the end of the day that is what their customers wanted anyway. Explosives were simply a way to get to the broken rock.
At the end of the day, what is it that your customers really want? Are you solving a problem or only selling a piece used to solve the problem?
To be a true solutions provider your focus must be on your customers business, not on your business.