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How to set your business apart from your competitors

Here's just 11 simple ideas that will put you leaps and bound beyond your competitors, make you the first choice for your customers and put some cash in your till...

1. Monitor everything you do: buy yourself a simple binder folder and start tracking and analyzing all your promotions or ads you run, and the results it brought you. You'll at least double your advertising results by doing this!

2. Give something away: when you give away something to people, they are more likely to trust you and return the favor by buying something from you. Give away some time, free report, samples or demonstrations; don't forget to always add a ‘dollar' value to what you are giving away.

3. Add value: say for example you have a pest control business. You could add a free spider spray valued at $47 for every internal pest spray booked. The spider spray may only cost you a few dollars but it has a high perceived value to the customer. Have a think about what you can offer?

4. Reduce risk: majority of concerns buyers have is how the product or service will perform. Reduce their risk by offering a specific guarantee that states what your product or service will do and if it doesn't, this is what we'll do. Sorry, but ‘Your satisfaction is guaranteed' simply doesn't ‘cut it' anymore.

5. Sell the benefits of your product or service: have a think about this simple marketing truth; "nobody cares who you are but what's in it for me". Do the opposite of what the majority of businesses do, and start promoting what the benefits of your product or service are. Nobody really cares who the carpet cleaner is, but we all want dirt free, clean and smelly fresh carpet - get the picture?

6. Stay in touch: a personal phone call, a letter or card, are some of the best ways to stay in touch and establish trust. Set up a ‘customer contact system' - contact your customers and prospects regularly and get feedback on their concerns.

7. Use headlines in your ads and promotional material: On average 5 times as many people read the headline as read the rest of the ad. If a reader's attention is caught by a headline - they read on. If your headline is not attempting to sell your product or service, you have just wasted nearly 90% of your money. Use a headline that promotes a benefit, as in the following examples;
"Join today and start loosing weight"
"Walk without pain"
"XYZ Bookkeeping will save you Money"

8. Set up a referral system: when you are looking to buy a product or service you generally ask your friends if they know anyone or had any experiences. You trust the recommendations of people you know, so why not leverage from this? Don't wait for the occasional referral to trickle in out of the blue. Implement a professionally crafted referral system to create a stampede.

9. Join a ‘Business Networking' group: there are plenty of business networking / referral groups about. These groups generally meet on a regular basis and exchange ideas and business referrals. Not only will they help getting you more business, you will mix withy like minded people and build your own self confidence. Before joining any chat with some of the members and find out their opinion first.

10. Use testimonials: no matter how great you are or how fantastic your product or service is, people pay attention to what others say about you. Give some of your customers a call and ask what they liked about your product or service and any benefits and additional help they received. Edit their comments and ask for written permission to use their comments in your future marketing material.

11. Follow up: it's still amazes me even today how many business owners don't follow up on their customers. They have spent the time with them and in most cases have written out a quote only to leave it at that. Just simply picking up the phone and calling the prospect and asking them if they had any questions, you'll be amazed at the added sales you will receive. When was the last time you requested quotes and someone followed up on them?

by Brian Brown 

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