Small business owners frequently ask, “How do I stand out from my competition?” The answer is simple, if not easy.
STAND OUT BY MAKING A PROMISE
First, it is important to understand the problem your product or service solves and who you solve it for. Only then can you make a promise so the right people hear it and take action.
What promises are you making to your clients? To motivate clients, a brand promise must achieve the following three goals:
your promise must convey a compelling benefit
The benefit is the problem solved. It is not the features of your product or service. In my case, the problem I solve is launching a profitable business. One feature is in-depth business development training. The benefit of this is to provide clarity around getting a small business off the ground. My promise is to teach small business owners how to plan and perform so they can profit.
For example, FedEx’s service is to deliver packages from one location to another. The features they offer are things like online package tracking, but their promise is “when it absolutely has to be there the next day.”
your promise must be authentic & credible
Authenticity is a necessity today more than ever. We are looking for authentic connections and relationships. Social media and other digital marketing strategies make it easy for us to identify who is being authentic as they tie together the interactions they have with you and your business with ratings and reviews that others have posted. We are looking for social proof that the people and businesses we deal with are authentic.
The same then is vital to the promise our brand makes. Think about Safeway’s promise of “Ingredients for life”. Safeway has a detailed policy on the many variables that make up this ultimate promise and their customers count on things like fresh, local produce being available. I live in a farming community. Will I continue to trust the Safeway brand if they have foreign produce on the stands that are in season locally? The answer is no. Would you?
Credibility makes the promise believable because it is possible. If a brand were to promise same-day delivery for a product that was sourced from a distance, I would question the credibility of the promise.
Stand Out By Keeping Your Promise, every time
A 2011 survey conducted in the US and 9 other countries found that news of a bad customer service experience reaches twice as many ears as a good customer service experience.
That was then. Since then social media platforms and online review sites have made it much easier for this information to spread to even more people
We had a recent experience with an advertising brand, an online news source that offered digital advertising. At the initial meeting, they were provided with our budget and asked to come back with a proposal. The proposal came back with three options, one at twice our budget, one at 167% of our budget, and one at 130% of our budget. We gave them another chance and asked for a proposal that was at our budget amount. The next communication was an email asking if we were ready to get started.
Needless to say, that particular advertising program did not move forward.
Stand Out By Creating Raving Fans
It costs 6 times more money to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. In order to develop loyalty to our brand over the competition, we must deliver a consistently great experience to our prospects and customers or clients. This is what drives those great reviews, referrals, and word-of-mouth recommendations.
If something happens where you have not or are unable to deliver on your promise, taking the appropriate actions to resolve the issue will keep the promise alive. If you and your business swiftly remedy a problem, you will receive more great reviews and recommendations.
Following up with the people who have purchased your product or service is another great way to WOW them. If you sell a bigger ticket item or service, follow up with a personal phone call or email to ensure everything is working the way it should. Ask if there is anything that would have made their experience better. This is also a great time to ask for a review or testimonial. If you sell smaller ticket items, for example in a retail store or health clinic, send out a period survey to customers to gain feedback and let them know that you care about what they have to say.
It is true that times have changed, the ways we market ourselves and our businesses have changed. However, the basics of creating a great business are still the same. Check out our post “6 Steps to Identifying Your Ideal Client” for help on nailing down the details of who you are solving a problem for. All of the above will become much easier and more satisfying.
For more customer service facts and stats, check out HelpScout’s post “75 Customer Service Facts, Quotes, and Statistics.”