Do you own you own business? If so, are you proud of what you sell? Of course you are! Every single entrepreneur will be happy to boast about the goods or services they provide. After all, their business is their baby; the reason they work around the clock, on a 24/7 basis. It’s the basket where they’ve likely placed most of their proverbial eggs. Their riskiest bet. Their pride and glory.
However, regardless of how great a product you may provide, the reality is that in most industries, there is plenty of competition. And it’s not just the Joneses down the street who may be giving you a run for your money. Thanks to the proliferation of online businesses and marketing through social media, business owners have to also be aware that the scope of their competition can be worldwide.
So, what can a person do to stand out from the competition?
- Make customer service a priority: Most companies have a customer service line, and if you don’t, find a way for your clients to get someone on the phone to talk to. It can be very annoying to have a fairly simple issue with your products but have to wait for a solution. Also, not everyone cares enough to train their employees to sound like someone other than a bitter high school dropout with a minimum wage job and a memorized script. Go the extra mile. Train your team to really listen to customers and to go out of their way to make them happy. Disney is known for this. This is where their magic comes from. Take a cue and follow suit.
- Share your story: You know what’s really cool about Oprah? (Other that the fact that she’s a total rock star.) We know that she came from extremely humble beginnings and worked her way to the top of the media industry. Same goes for JK Rowling. Knowing that she wrote Harry Potter as she was experiencing severe financial difficulties makes her even more endearing to readers. You know why? Because it makes them relatable. It’s not the same thing to purchase an item from an anonymous big corporation than to do business with someone whose story resonates with you. So share your story. You’ll get a more loyal following because of it.
- Incorporate technology: Something everyone has in common is that we’re all hooked on technology. Smart phones have become a fifth limb. Barely anyone watches cable TV anymore. Why would they, when there’s Netflix, Hulu, HBO On Demand, and a long list of TV shows to watch on every major network’s website. So, it makes sense to jump on that bandwagon. By incorporating augmented or mixed reality into your marketing, you turn a sales pitch into an interactive, fun experience for the buyer.
- Think outside the box: Let’s say you sell teas. You have a cute little tea shop with all sorts of tea trinkets. Then a Starbucks opens down the street. You’re calm. You’re cool. You’re collected. You start labeling your drinks according to what a person may need: boost their immunity, weight loss, better sleep, an energy jolt, etc… You sell them in personalized cups in rose gold, lavender, mint… You set up a small library area within the shop, where people are welcome to come and read all day while they drink your tea… The whole point is that you don’t have to just sell a product. Think of ways to complement what you do. What would make the customer experience a more immersed one? Go with that.
When you think about it, all of these extra efforts give your product or service a semblance of personality. You are no longer the store where people buy cameras. You are the store where people know your background (and love you for it). You’re memorable. When they visit your store, more than just finding a product, they live an experience. And that makes all the difference.