All businesses have to learn to survive in increasingly competitive markets. Consumers and target businesses have lots of choices and can find half a dozen or more with a few clicks of the mouse. So how can you stand out from the crowd and give yourself an unfair advantage?
Step 1: Be Clear
I advise my business coaching clients that first thing to do is be clear: what business you are really in? This might seem like an obvious a question, but I am asking you to think differently. Let me give you a clue: you aren’t in IT support or landscaping or cleaning or digital marketing or whatever service or product you sell.
“What do you mean?” I hear a lot of you saying. Well, nobody buys IT support, landscaping, cleaning, digital marketing, etc. What they actually buy are the outcomes – continuously productive staff, a beautiful environment to relax with family and friends, a clean and safe place to work and live, a predictable stream of potential new customers, etc.
“Aha!” Now you get it. So now you’ve got it, let’s move on to…
Step 2: Quantify Your Value
Speak with your existing clients and get them to tell you what the outcomes they have benefited from by engaging your services or by buying your products. Even try and quantify a dollar value if that is possible. See if what you sell has a real impact on what they offer to theirclients.
Step 3: Review and Revise Your Marketing Material
Now go and review your marketing materials – your website, your flyers and brochures, etc. Do they reflect the outcomes that you produce for the market? Or do they just big-note you and your company?
Let me tell you a story about one of my Melbourne small business clients who was looking to send his monthly stock-standard email campaign about his company’s cleaning services for pubs and restaurants. His email was all about how good his services were and that he had some special free offers for those who tried the service. It was a nice email, polite but boring and the same as every other cleaning promotion. Which was why it had never generated a call. Not. A. Single. Call.
I walked him through the 3 steps and then helped him rewrite his email, focusing on how we could really help their venues – namely, improving customer satisfaction (consider the appeal of a sticky, grubby pub “I’ll have 2 glasses of pinot gris and a shot of tetanus, please” versus a clean, welcoming (hygienic) venue, where you can relax and enjoy the experience). We also included research that proved that clean, safe work environments increase productivity, improve staff morale and retention, that in turn, increases customer spend.
This new perspective made real sense to his target market and it set him above all the other competitors. And his phone rang. And rang. And rang.
So, armed with a different view of what you are really in business for, you can stand out from the crowd and demonstrate that you genuinely understand your customers and are aligned with what they want to achieve!