Across industries, the up-turn in Entrepreneurship has seen increased competition in recent times. Whilst great to see such "green shoots" emerging in the economic sense, many business owners are starting to feel increased pressure to perform in a crowded marketplace. So how can we ensure that our prospects beat a happy path to our door, rather than our competitors? If you've ever answered the question "What's your USP" with the response "Great customer service", it's time to get real. Here are 3 ways you can differentiate in a more sustainable and game-changing way...
Whilst companies can appear 10-a-penny, every person is unique, and one thing your competitors don't have is YOU! As a voice for your business, you have the opportunity to share the vision and mission, as well as showcase your expertise in increasingly far-reaching ways. One under-utilised and easy-access mode of delivery? Online video.
Most of your competitors will never feel confident or innovative enough to talk about their views and expertise on film, let alone broadcast them to the world. If you can become comfortable enough in front of the camera, you can share all manner of insights and tips in your role as the "trusted advisor" within your industry. If you've a larger business, and are reluctant to make it all about you, why not involved the whole team? Whatever you do, having your target prospects connect with you visually, and digesting your views in this self-service manner, can make a huge difference to your discoverability as a business.
Champion Your Client's Cause
Your competitors are solutions-focused by default. Sadly, the status quo is to toe the line and look very much like every other business in your industry. For those that don't mind standing out however, there's a great opportunity. See it from your prospect's point of view! Now you could use social media to research conversations about your industry, gleaning insights about what works and what's lacking. You could conduct focus groups.
The more innovative business will co-create solutions with the market. Welcome your target buyers into the product and service design process - ask them to help you create the solutions that truly deliver everything they wish for (within reason). This will engender a greater connection, fuel your research, and produce better-aligned solutions that sell with less effort, and get referred just as quickly.
Go the Extra Mile
Today's client is more discerning. They realise that customer service and sentiment wins the day in the age of social media. It's more important, therefore, to deliver more in terms of communication and content than those you compete with. Consider creating exclusive content just for your clients. This can comprise anything from guidance on how best to work with you (expectation-setting is key), to lifting the lid on how you deliver, behind the scenes. Clients want to feel that they know every facet of what you do, without actually needing to know. More than this, the connection between your team and theirs will be strengthened.
Clients most often leave you when the communication breaks down in some way. Put great communication at the top of your agenda for greater retention, greater referral opportunities, and the lowest-cost business development strategy you'll ever implement!