Today, your customers have a lot of options. Too frequently you hear tales of woe caused to small businesses by the "big box stores". The competition is definitely fierce. The marketplace is experiencing what Scott McKain would call a "collapse of distinction".
Scott McKain is a best selling author and an expert on distinction. Recently, I had the pleasure of attending one of his presentations. I thought it very fitting and applicable to our industry. So here are the cliff notes.
Collapse of distinction - what are you up against?
1. Copycat competition
2. More and tougher competition
3. Familiarity breeds complacency
How can you create distinction and combat competition and complacency? Scott's plan is to use the 4 C's - Clarity, Creativity, Communication, and Customer Experience Focus.
Clarity: "You cannot differentiate what you cannot define."
In order to distinguish yourself, you need to define yourself. As a company, get specific about what you are but also what you are not. What makes you different, better?
Scott suggests using a "high concept" that encompasses who/what you are. For example, Hollywood uses high concepts to promote movies - Snakes On A Plane or Speed used "a bomb on a bus". Your high concept should be powerful, compelling, brutally brief, and congruent. Once you have your high concept, it should be incorporated into everything you do!
Creativity: "Creativity without clarity is void of devoid of distinction."
Find a creative way to do something different. Define every point of contact you have with your customers and prospects. Choose one specific area where you can be unique from your competition. Now develop a creative approach.
Enterprise car rental is one example Scott used. What do they do that is unique? They pick you up.
Communication via narrative resonates more with today's audience more than facts. Tell a story!
Customer Experience Focus:
Yes, the transaction with your customer is important. But what kind of experience is your customer having? Scott's advice is to ask yourself, "What if everything went exactly right?" What would that look like? What are the roadblocks? Clear those roadblocks and make it happen!
For more information on Scott McKain or to purchase his book, visit his website http://scottmckain.com/.