Tip No. 2: Out-Step the Competition

I spent today with a young woman who is building a new Service business from scratch. It is a unique idea and while she has already successfully built the first platform for the business, she has, like all passionate and extraordinary entrepreneurs, phase two evolving for launch.

She was looking for advice about how to best hit the market hardest and fastest and get a “step up” ahead of the reliable list of competitors who will be quick in their attempts to follow.
The ensuing discussion outlined a few pointers that are worth sharing especially for those working with a service brand or business. The first part means thinking about your business from their point of view.

1. Develop a list of criteria that defines the most “valuable” objectives that your offer can meet. Think about things such as:

  • Does it meet a strategic acquisition need?
  • Does it effectively build loyalty of existing customers?
  • Does it provide your customers a means for better reaching their end users?
  • Is it merely an awareness building tool?

2. Match this criteria list to a well-thought out list of potential customers. Consider:

  • What might they be looking for – their goals?
  • If they are not the end user, then who they are targeting as their end users?
  • What other products and services do they utilize, and how is your offer different/better in meeting their goals?
  • Is there an appropriate way to hit the market geographically and tie up crucial market sectors quickly? Which customers meet this definition?
  • Are you working with the “thought leaders” or “big guys”? Those that will make your proposition the most sticky? Will it entice other, smaller businesses to join your brand and reject those that enter the market 2nd or 3rd?

3. Consider age-defining characteristics as well as specific user traits and behaviours for your customers.

4. Remember to ensure you can actually deliver against any expectations these customers will have.

5. Use the best resources at your disposal to quickly blanket these customers and “sell” them on your business, illustrating to them how it meets their objectives.

6. You may need a specialized sales resource or a team of trained professionals but TRAINING is key. Knowing your service is obvious but knowing and understanding the customers’ markets and needs is crucial and this is what will set your brand apart. The relationship has to built on trust and understanding, this is key so make this step really count.

Like all good consumer marketing strategies, it comes back, yet again to the customer and defining your business through their eyes first!
If you have done all the thinking up front, and used relevant and compelling criteria to define the ‘best fit’ customers, you have the first step. When you then approach these customers with knowledge and expertise and empathy you will most likely be able to elicit their commitment to your business ahead of the pack.

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