There’s no money in being the same

Dilbert - Apple watchDILBERT © 2015 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved

Is it too late to bring out a competitor to the Apple Watch? Well there were already competitors in the market long before the Apple Watch arrived. So is Apple competing on price or features? That’s a categoric NO! Apple has its own style and following. It sells on that, not price or features.

Very few businesses establish the market position Apple has. But you can establish your own position on a smaller scale. You don’t need to be big to think ‘big picture’ but few small business do. What do I mean by ‘big picture’. I mean stepping back and looking at your business as a whole and answering some tough questions

Q1
Question 1 is always ‘Why are you in business’. Do you have a core passion, a core reason for doing what you do? Just making money or being good at something isn’t enough to make most people standout. Why? Because being good at something doesn’t mean you care about your client. I can be a great carpenter and make fantastic furniture but not give a damn about my clients so customer service could suffer. If I only care about money I’ll always be looking for the best deal – for me. To hell with win-win.

But if you are passionate about what you do AND who you do it for, you can build great client relationships. You can deliver real value to people rather than just products and services.

Q2
Is your ‘Why’ reflected in every aspect of your business? This includes:
• The quality of the product or service
• How you deal with clients
• Your communications – website, e-mails, letters, social media etc.
• How your telephones are answered
• How your staff are trained and managed
All of these things become part of your brand.

Q3
Are you talking about your clients or about yourself? So many small business focus on what they can do for their clients and how good they are. ‘We’ have years of experience, ‘we’ deliver great service, ‘we’ can turn water into wine etc etc. What about the client? What problem or pain are you solving for the client. Talk to your clients about their pains, their problems, and how you can help them. Then demonstrate your years of experience helping other clients with much the same pain and bring it to life with examples.

Talk to your clients, not at them. Show that you want to understand what there problems are before you try and solve them. As Stephen Covey wrote in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, “seek first to understand”.

There’s no money in being the same. If you understand you ‘Why’. If it is reflected in every aspect of your business, and you talk to your clients in the right way, you’re not in the middle, you’re not the same. You are way out ahead of the pack. You will not be competing on price. People will buy from you because it is you. Yes, some people will turn away because your competitors are cheaper. They are the bargain hunters who always want a deal, always complain at the least little thing, and suck time and energy out of your business. Just the sort of client you can do without.

Want more sales? Then seek first to understand

Here’s an actual sales message I received recently:

“I build and manage for you powerful sales teams! Whats your email, I’ll send a proposal!”

Now let’s be clear about this. I had never met, exchanged e-mails or spoken to the sender. Even if they found my business on the internet and did all the online research they possibly could, there is no way they know enough about my business to be able to send me a worthwhile proposal.

Maybe the intention of the message was to get my attention – which it obviously did. But it got my attention because the message was wrong on so many levels and not because I want to be sent a proposal.

In Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’, Habit no.5 is “Seek first to understand, then be understood”. My would-be proposal writer hadn’t sought to understand the first thing about me or my business,. Am I likely to buy? No. Am I likely to engage with him? Not to buy – he’s going to try and sell me what he has got and not what I need. Even if, by chance, he does have what I need, am I likely to buy. No, because if I have a problem or a question he has already demonstrated he is not listening. He is in broadcast mode, not receiving mode.

The best sales people listen more than they speak. They engage, ask open questions, get to understand what you are looking to achieve, so that when they make you an offer, it is something relevant to your needs. Something that meets your requirements.

Finding prospects to engage with may seem a lot more challenging than pumping out a few Twitter and Facebook ads. It doesn’t have to be, especially if you are in the business to business world. You see, most business people use LinkedIn. There are over 18 million users in the UK alone and 360 million worldwide. I think we should be able to find your ideal customer amongst them, don’t you? With the right profile – one that extols what you do for your clients, what benefits you bring to them, you can attract, connect and engage with your sort of client.

LinkedIn webinar bootcamp webinar screenIf you’d like to understand how to use LinkedIn to avoid the mistakes of my would-be proposal writer and generate more sales, join me for a three part live webinar series. To paraphrase a well known Star Trek character, ‘It’s LinkedIn Jim, but not as you know it’. Click on the screen or the link to sign up.

LinkedIn webinar Bootcamp