Ever wonder why someone chooses your business products or services over your competition? Or – unless you have reached that pinnacle in your industry – you may be wondering how to make your potential customers choose you over your competition. Short of just giving everything away for free, which still won’t guarantee that they’ll choose you, there’s really no way to make sure a customer won’t run away for the competition down the street.
There are a few things, however, that you can do to make yourself, your organization, and your products stand out from what your competitors are offering. I have three ways that I keep going back to when I’m trying to make myself stand out from the competition and for the most part they’ve worked for me. There’s no guarantee that they’ll work, but they are likely to help you make a name for yourself and make an impression with current and potential customers.
Differentiate your offerings from your competition
Make yourself different from the competition. If you’re a dry cleaning business, stay open an hour later than your competition. If you’re a resume service, deliver three different layouts with each order. If you’re a portrait photographer, include a 16x20 canvas print of the best photo from the sitting with each order. Word will get around. Soon you’ll be the choice because your clients will want that ‘extra’ that you give. And you’ll be able to give that extra service because it doesn’t cost you much but it gives your client a lot of additional value. The key is to be different. Don’t let being chosen left to luck or random selection.
Make your services a little more expensive
This may seem like the exact wrong thing to do, but trust me, it’s the right way to go. If you don’t value your service, your efforts, your experience, and your final product then no one else will either. You can add extras in that your competition isn’t offering or isn’t capable of offering, but don’t devalue your services just to increase sales, if possible. Price yourself like you know what you’re worth. Trust me, the clients who will value you and what you have to offer and are willing to pay for it will be the clients that stick around. The ones looking for the cheapest deal aren’t the ones you want overloading your workday and they won’t be around with you for the long haul anyway.
Be as approachable as possible
Finally – and this is a big one – be extremely approachable. I’ve found that potential customers like it when you’re very available and responsive to their questions and needs. When you’re trying to land a new customer and you reach out to them by phone or email or respond in a very familiar tone quickly to an email question that they may have, you’ve already started the process of winning them over. Personalize the response. It doesn’t take much effort on your part but it means a lot to a customer who is trying to make a choice. It sends a message that they are important to you, you provide answers quickly, and that you’ll be there and be available when they need to contact you. For me that sometimes means skyping or carrying on email conversations at 3 am with a client in Russia or Macedonia, but it works and it’s worth it.
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