In a recent Herald Column I mentioned that one strategy you can use to positively differentiate your business from your competitors is to create a 'Memorable Market Niche'.
In that column I explained how to create a memorable market niche by selling your product or service to a narrow group of clients or customers.
Another simple (yet very effective) strategy that you can use to create a memorable market niche is to have a 'special way of doing business'.
Here's a great example of a 'special way of doing business'
There is an unusual dentist in Queensland, Australian called Paddi Lund.
Paddi pulled down all his signs, locked his front door, took his name out of the phone book, and "fired" half his customers. Yet Paddi now works only 22 hours per week, earns 3½ times as much money and loves going to work.
One of the reasons Paddi does so well is not because he is a wonderful dentist.
As Paddi himself will tell you, there are other dentists who are more technically qualified than he is. The reason that Paddi does so well is that he sells his special way of doing business more than his actual dentistry services.
One of the interesting things about Paddi's dental practice is his closed door dental policy.
This means he only accepts as new dental clients, someone who has been referred by one of his existing clients. So his dental practice has an unlisted phone number.
Paddi has created an interesting resource he calls his 'Welcome Book" which explains in great detail his special way of doing business.
When potential clients read his welcome book they understand very clearly what is special about the way Paddi does business. Some people who read his welcome book like what he does and they become clients. Others can see that Paddi's approach is not for them.
Paddi's story is a great example of what is possible when you focus on selling your special way of doing business rather than focussing on selling your products and services.
How to sell your special way of doing business
Tell people (in detail) how you work with new customers or clients, before you talk to them about your products and services.
This might sound very simple to do (and it is), however almost no one does it in business.
Before you can sell a person on buying your product or service you need to sell them on your sales process.
In other words, let them know clearly what will happen at each stage of the sales process.
By doing this they have a clear picture of what is going to happen and they can then relax and focus on each step.
Remember that customers hate uncertainty or nasty surprises. And when you give them a clear picture of the sales process it removes a lot of the uncertainty they may have about what will happen along the way.
The easiest way to do this is to use the following words:
"The way I work is" or "The way we work is"
Then follow these words with the steps you go through in your normal sales process.
"John, before we talk about my computer services and how I may be able to help your business, what I'd like to do first is tell you how we work with a potential new client like you. First of all we do this.....Then we do this and this.... By doing these things it means this..... "
The more a customer understands what is happening at each step the more comfortable they will be with you.
Letting people know how you do business before talking about your products or services is usually a nice, low key way to get most sales conversations started.
Creating a special way of doing business is an easy way to position yourself as being different from all your competitors in a very positive way.
"If you don't have a competitive advantage, don't compete." - Jack Welch
Put down in writing the steps you follow with a new customer for your product or service.
Now explain these steps to a new customer before you start talking about your product or service. Do this at least five times with new customers. What did you notice by doing this?