I was walking through the tourist area of Vancouver this week noticing all the quaint, cool restaurants with their signs and billboards.
There must be eight coffee shops in a two-block radius including the category killer, Starbucks. I like to look at how some business owners are cutting through the street clutter to get my attention. And others are drowning in the noise.
And despite the fact that I don’t drink coffee, I had to laugh when I saw this chalk sandwich board. Thinking I was about to see the menu of the day as I had on all the other restaurants, I read the first line and was completely caught off guard. “Hello Sunshine. Had your coffee yet?”
I laughed. I could almost hear the English accent. What about that little line penetrated the noise? The language was engaging, as if a real human was talking to me, building a relationship. Nothing stupendous, just authentic. And that restaurant was buzzing inside in contrast to others that were empty.
As our economy continues to flatline, you have to ask yourself some hard questions as a business owner. Are you believing all the hype the media puts out? Are you following all the trending topics that push the latest recycled thinking? Is your mood flat and gloomy these days?
Or are you looking at your company and its prospects with fresh eyes and a fighter’s strut?
As the owner and CEO, what you think about, tends to be the predictor of where your company is going.
Think about that for a moment. When was the last time you envisioned new customers arriving on your doorstep when you needed them? Did you just wish longingly for that, or were you certain, brimming with intention that becoming the ‘go-to’ company was your mission?
There’s a reason that there are not a lot of ‘go-to’ companies out there. Think about your own buying habits. Do you go to one place over another out of habit or because they do something special that no one else does?
What your favorite places of business do that sets them apart is that they aren’t following the beaten path. They don’t align themselves with the trends. They don’t follow best practices. They don’t do it just like other companies in their industry because everyone else does.
To be the go to company in your market niche, you have to separate yourself from the pack. This can be hard to do. We are all trained and conditioned to want to be ‘part of’ the right peer group, the in crowd and the people in the know. Stop thinking like that.
It’s time to see your business the way you want it to be seen by others… special, unique, unparalleled, inspiring, impressive, responsive, fun to do business with.
Getting your secret sauce sorted out is vital to becoming the go to company. Secret sauce has more to do with the experience of working with you rather than all the bells and whistles you offer. Here’s the recipe:
- Ask your customers why they pick your company over any other. Listen for themes. One client we asked to do this brought in 20 of their people from all parts of the company. After asking everyone who talks to clients, the CEO was amazed to find out that the reason they get the business is they are responsive to customer needs. Meaning the customer can talk to the person of their choice and get an answer. The competitors were too slow and rigid in who talked to whom. He had thought it was because they had high quality standards.
- Show your customers how the work gets done, why you do it, what drives you to solve these problems, provide these services, deliver value day after day. How does it all come together? Watch this video to get the idea. People buy what they are inspired by. Otherwise your shoe store, (service, manufacturing company etc) is just like everyone else’s. And it really isn’t, is it?
- Share your stories about how you solve problems in your blog. Educate people about how to use your product, how to do things related to your product or service and share ‘inside’ knowledge on a weekly basis. Write like you’re just having a conversation with someone, not in tech speak or boring professional speak.
Now go find out what makes your company wonderful. Tell us your secret sauce. Write it in the comment section below. We’ll give you feedback to fine tune it so you get at the heart of what makes your company the sunshine in your target market’s day.