Trapped in a lift with your competitors and a hot lead, what happens next?
We’ve all heard of the ‘elevator pitch’. It’s the bite size, 10 second pitch that all businesses and brands should have at the ready. It boils down your offering to it’s simplest, stand out terms. Let’s say you and your competitors are trapped in an elevator for real and a huge potential customer is there and ready to deal.
You open your mouth to wow them and then you and your four competitors recite the exact same thing. This may get you thinking ‘Wait, how exactly ARE we better?’ You’re ready to find your key differentiator…
Repeat after me… How to bottle your lightning
Complete these simple sentences to see if you can narrow down your differentiator
“We offer …….. that other competitors cannot match”
“We aid customers that need …. better than anyone else”
Maybe that wasn’t so easy? Don’t worry, you’re not alone in having to think a little deeper to capture that elusive spark of advantage. In the modern market, it is increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself clearly on product superiority alone. Sure, companies like Apple can, but mostly it’s the intangible elements that fit together to make a company the leader, or an also-ran. In other words, often service, customer interaction and even your brands story can be the game changer.
Identify, Nurture, Benefit
Your brand is unique, from its origin story, to its staff, its style of communication and advertising, its owner, its passion. That heady mix is you, and how you deal with it and help your customers might be the reason they flock to you. The follow up call your reps make the day after a big delivery, or your service agents make after a problem, these tiny interactions could be creating the special value that your customers really appreciate. If you want to know if this is true, ask your customers! They will tell you what you are getting right, as well as wrong.
They may like your light hearted brand personality, your hands on rock and roll owner or the calm knowledge your staff possess. By all means test internally for this, but you have to think ‘outside in’ i.e. look for the differences others see rather than the ones you might be the only one noticing.
Once you have narrowed down these factors, promote them to your staff and nurture all the elements that make you a success – stay the course! The benefits of knowing what makes you tick will come…
A cautionary tale – Practice what you preach
Once you recognise your key differentiator, listen to your customers for signs that you remain on track. Make sure to treat direct customer contact seriously at all stages of a purchase (from enquiry, to purchase, to after sales, to problems). The golden rule today is that if they are talking to you, they are also talking about you. Monitor all social media channels for any feedback, good or bad on how you’re doing – this is your benchmark. Take action and respond to any chatter online about your customer’s experience with you.
For example, if you pride yourself on start-to-finish customer relationships and your clients find that your sales staff are ducking them once an order is secured, leaving them to deal with HQ for any follow up or issues, this goes against the whole purpose. Ensure that your key differentiator is visible and working well across all stages of the customer relationship. Otherwise, the disconnect between promise and delivery will drive your clients right into the arms of competitors.
If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on the latest marketing news, tips and trends, then signup for our newsletter here!