Want a successful business? Then make this headline, “go where others fear to tread,” your action phrase.
How might this work?
Well, for much of your competition, just the thought of treading outside of boundaries is enough to stop many. And for those who a large group of those who do take the plunge, do so with little thought or planning. So thoughtfully breaking the “rules” will substantially whittled down your competition.
So what type of planning do you need to do? You need to focus on new opportunities. Many business owners take that to mean new markets you can tap. And that certainly is one possible course of action. But this is just the beginning.
In terms of marketing, perhaps the new ground to explore is understanding and focusing on the customers who make up your top 10% of sales. Who are they and where can you find more of them? Why do they come to you? Who can provide the leads to reach this subset of your market?
Or your new stretch might be a change in how your communicate? Bring back the hand-written thank you; pick up the phone instead of an email; or drop by instead of the phone.
Maybe it’s in your service that you break down the boundaries. Every time I get an oil change, using various dealers, I am asked to rate the performance. And in doing so, they want me to give them a five-star rating. What is a five-star rating? They all perform equally well so, to me, there are no top ratings. Think on how you can distinguish yourself. What if you picked my car up and dropped it off for the same price? Or how about a return to groceries bagged and loaded in my car? The call in service is to under-commit and over-deliver, but how many places actually hit that mark?
Could your sales process be where you make your mark? Might you truly listen more and talk less? Are you so confident that you have a great option that you can lay out what you offer and then stop talking and let the customer make up her or his mind?
Winning businesses are doing what others are afraid of. Be the one who sets the bar high. Doing so will discourage most of your competition.
- About the Author
- Latest by this Author
Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.